Renovation and expansion of the Morgan Library

Renovation and expansion of the Morgan Library

In 2000, RPBW was commissioned to expand the Morgan Library. The site did not allow extensions in the direction of the surrounding streets (Madison Avenue, 36th and 37th) but only in the space between the existing ones. Any intervention should therefore be carried out within the existing perimeter and must respect the historical pre-existence. It was then excavated (up to 17 meters deep) all around the buildings, to find in the subsoil the areas where to place the deposit for the collection and the Auditorium. In the space released on the surface, there were 3 pavilions that connect to the historic buildings, leaving a large "square" free for public functions. The square is the heart of the intervention, a place of rest and relationship and above all a point of distribution that facilitates the achievement of every wing of the Library. The new pavilions, the square and the three historic buildings are linked to each other by a transparent glass and steel cover.

Project data


2000 - 2003


2003 - 2006

Site area

1548 m2

Total area

15000 m2 (including pre-existing building/historical buildings)


23,8 m


2 + 1 mezzanine + 4 basements


299 seats


17 m in depth (at a distance of just  30 cm from the pre-existing buildings)



The Morgan Library


Renzo Piano Building Workshop, architects in collaboration with Beyer Blinder Belle LLP (New York)


Robert Silman Associates (structure); Cosentini Associates (services); Ove Arup & Partners (thermal performance and lighting); Front (façade consultant); Kahle Acoustics (acoustics); Harvey Marshall Associates (A/V consultant); IROS (elevator design); HM White (landscape); Stuart-Lynn Company (cost consultant)