The New York Public Library
Celeste Bartos Forum
New York, NY

6400 SF • 590 SQ M

The Celeste Bartos Forum is one of the great gems of Carrère and Hastings’ New York Public Library. Originally designed as the Circulating Library, over the years its functions changed and it became used as a storage area while a new building was created to house the circulation facilities. When Davis Brody Bond began the restoration, the room was filled with numerous pieces of office furnishings and equipment.

The main focus in the project was to restore the grand 30 foot high elliptical glass dome, which had been neglected and roofed over the years. New clear glass was installed to bring sunlight into the room while an exterior shading system was implemented to darken the room for audio visual presentations. Lights above the lower panels of the dome enable the room to be lit without changing the appearance of the skylight.

The cast-iron piers and arches which support the glass dome, were painted and gilded to highlight their detail. Marble ceiling panels were discovered between the steel frames and these, along with the rare marble walls and oak cabinets were cleaned and restored to their original luster. The forum has been adapted and refurbished in the spirit of its original design, and now serves as a function hall for conferences, lectures and recitals. The project was the recipient of the AIA New York Chapter Distinguished Architecture Award. 

Bartos Forum, ca. 1900

Bartos Forum, ca. 1900

Bartos forum before renovation

Bartos forum before renovation