decades of darkness, dankness, desolation, and dripping water not
to mention the incendiary attack of Vietnam War protestors the auditorium
of Gould Memorial Library on the Bronx Community College campus
has just been restored to its former glory.
space was originally designed by Stanford White in 1900 to serve
as a chapel, but will now feature meetings and events for both the
College and the local community.
Particularly unlikely to be missed were windows that, during a prior
renovation, had been filled in with concrete and a wall that had
cut off the tops of Goulds columns and concealed its balcony.
Lest there be
any doubt that the rejuvenation of the spectacular space was a labor
of love, here is a succinct panegyric from the firm Platt Byard
Dovell Architects, which accomplished the project: Proposed by White
for New York University,clearly
as a competitor for Charles McKims Law Library at Columbia University,
the Gould Library, possibly the most powerfully sensuous formal
interior of its time, put
the round chapel directly below the reading room, bringing natural
light into the chapel all the way from the top of the Librarys dome
through a central glass-floored Librarians desk area.
With the aid of the sharp slope of the site, the subterranean chapel
used windows and abundant natural light to layer and enlarge its
strong, embracing circular form.