NYPL for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center and Claire Tow Theater, Manhattan

40 Lincoln Center Plaza
Eero Saarinen and Gordon Bunshaft, 1965; renovation: Polshek Partnership, 1999-2001

Claire Tow Theater: Hugh Hardy, 2012

Both a research and circulating library, this formidable library is adjacent to the Metropolitan Opera House and shares a building with the Vivian Beaumont Theater. In fact, its stacks, which hold one of the largest collections of performing arts materials in the world, wrap around the theater flyspace and its public rooms are to the side and rear of the theater. Before the library was conceived as part of the plans for Lincoln Center, performing arts research materials were housed at the Main Branch and the circulating music collection was located at the 58th Street Library. The exterior of the glass and travertine building was the work of Eero Saarinen, while the interior was designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. In 2001, a major reconfiguration of the 1960s design was undertaken, notably the consolidation of smaller reading rooms into one skylit reading room on the third floor and improved exhibition galleries, as well as rewiring the building for computers and internet access. In 2012, the two-story, 23,000-square-foot Claire Tow Theater was constructed on the building’s roof.