Since my return from attending the recent Winterim Intensive program at the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art I have been focused on getting back into my normal routine and to get caught up with my work here. The program was nine days long with each 13 hour day consisting of back to back classes, lectures and studio time. Despite the intensive work load and schedule, the experience was one of the most inspiring yet challenging things I have done in many years. Each of the instructors brought their own talents, passion and enthusiasm for the courses they led, which reinforced and inspired my own love for the classical arts.
On our second day we were treated to a private two hour tour of the New York Public Library, one of the finest classical buildings in America that was designed in the Beaux Arts style by Carrere and Hastings. Our assignment, to design a information kiosk with eight touch screens for the marble lined Astor Hall, which greets you upon entering the library.
The challenge was to design a functional kiosk that complemented and did not detract from the beauty of Astor Hall, with its soaring Doric columns, graceful marble staircases and the magnificent vaulted ceiling. we were given free reign to wander the halls of the library taking photographs, sketching and observing while taking note of the abundance of architectural details, which would inspire our designs.
I spent the first part of the day making rough sketches of the predominant elements in Astor Hall. My first thought was to design a pair of marble pavilions that floated in the space. But upon further observation I felt that they would have been to obtrusive and heavy for the space while also potentially interrupting the circulation of people as they came and went.
A few days later while riding the subway to my morning classes I had an epiphany for the design, which I will share with you in another post. The sketches below illustrate just a few of the beautiful details in Astor Hall and the Reading Room.