New York Public Library Rose Reading Room Restoration

New York, New York, United States

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AECOM Tishman managed the inspection and repairs of the New York Public Library’s Rose Main Reading Room – the jewel of the library’s flagship Fifth Avenue building – after a 16-pound ornamental plaster rosette fell from the 52-foot-high ornate ceiling. During the restoration, the ceilings of both the Rose Reading Room and Bill Blass Catalog Room were shielded by an extensive scaffold system, which included a platform 42 feet above the floor and 10 feet below the ceilings. This safety measure prevented future plaster from falling into open areas below and provided a work platform for restoration workers.

The scaffold installation work was performed with the future restoration work in mind. Loading in of long beams, scaffold members, and wood planking was planned around the library’s normal hours of operation, limiting access through public spaces. Materials that did not fit in the library’s freight elevator were loaded from 40th Street and boomed onto a roof. A scaffold tower was erected on the roof and materials were carried up and into the Rose Reading Room through an existing window. Scaffold installation started in the Bill Blass Room and continued into the Rose Reading Room, working from north to south.

Restoration work included securing loose plaster elements, replacing missing and damaged ceiling sections, vacuum cleaning all ceilings and murals, and installing a new mural over the existing damaged mural in Bill Blass.