New Central Library will become the world's largest public library

Foster + Partners has been chosen to design what is set to be the world's largest public library, the New Central Library in New York.

The UK architectural practice was chosen from a list of 30 firms by a special committee of the US library's board of trustees to transform the New York Public Library's research facility on Fifth Avenue into a library open to the public.

The transformed library will serve users of all ages with open-shelf circulating collections, and will feature expansive new reading rooms.

Lord Foster
Foster: "We seek to achieve the right balance between history and technology"

The redevelopment of the library will be the centrepiece of a $1bn revamp of the entire New York public library system, announced in March.

Lord Foster said he is personally committed to the “challenge of reinventing this great institution for the 21st century”.

He added: “Our approach to its transformation is led by an enormous respect for the historic building, combined with a clear vision for future change. We seek to achieve the right balance between history and technology; between access for all and scholarship.”

Designs for the project are expected to be take two years to complete.