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Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart
image The Public Realm Neighborhood Buildings
Libraries
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Neighborhood Buildings
Libraries
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By the early twentieth century an addition was made to the buildings of the civic realm in residential neighborhoods, with the advent of the public library system. When Andrew Carnegie gave several million dollars to the New York Public Library to build a series of branch libraries out in the residential neighborhoods of the city, and especially in the poorest residential neighborhoods of the city where people could not necessarily afford to buy books.

Many of these libraries were designed by McKim, Mead, and White, the leading architectural firm in America by the early twentieth century.

This is the Hamilton Grange branch on West 145th Street, which was designed by Charles McKim in 1905, and is a small-scale great masterpiece.

These library buildings are always three stories tall, with an adult library on the first floor, a children's library on the second floor, and work rooms on the third floor, and they're modeled on Italian-renaissance palace modes.

And here you have a beautiful rusticated façade that is a façade with blocks of stone, with deep channels between them, and very elegant stone and iron detail, including details with books, that say something about the use of the building.

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