Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL): Building Features

Exterior photo of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library with a marble lion statue in the foreground. In 2021, The New York Public Library officially opened its completely renovated central circulating library, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL). Using creativity and ingenuity to preserve and breathe new life into a historic New York City building, the design team behind the transformation—led by Francine Houben of Mecanoo with Liz Leber of Beyer Blinder Belle—was dedicated to creating a beautiful, light-filled, inspiring central circulating library with a classic, timeless, functional design. The all-new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL) has been designed and constructed to meet LEED standards, and is in the process of obtaining certification. The building features the following:



Healthy Building Materials

The architectural design and construction team for SNFL focused on selecting building materials such as paints, carpets, and ceiling tiles, as well as adhesives and other coatings with low Volatile Organic Compounds content, or VOCs.

VOCs in the built environment are known to cause headaches and respiratory issues but can also lead to long-term negative health effects such as respiratory illness and cancer.

Sustainable Building Materials

The architectural design and construction team for SNFL focused on selecting local building products made from recycled materials and sustainably harvested wood.

By reviewing building materials and products for their environmental impact, the design and construction of SNFL further reduces its use of the planet’s natural resources.

Reduced Landfill Waste

The U.S. construction industry accounts for 160 million tons of non-industrial waste generation a year, according to the EPA. Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 14.1% of these emissions in 2016.

To reduce the environmental impacts of the construction, SNFL the contractor tracked all construction waste from the project to maximize the amount of waste to be recycled or reused instead of sent to landfills. The project was able to divert from landfill over 75% of the construction waste.

Water Conservation

To reduce the potable water consumption in the building and reduce a burden on municipal water supply and wastewater systems SNFL has installed low-flow plumbing fixtures such as toilets and sinks. Together, these fixtures reduce the building’s water consumption by 35% compared to a typical building.

Efficient Mechanical Systems

The mechanical systems in SNFL are designed for high-efficency performance and operation. Each system was thoroughly tested before the building was occupied by a certified commissioning agent. Properly operating efficient systems and smart design help reduce the building’s energy consumption and contribute towards the building’s energy conservation goals.

Efficient Mercury-Free Lighting

All lighting fixtures in the building are LEDs, reducing the energy consumption of the facility with a longlasting lighting product.

Reduction in Vehicular Pollution

SNFL is located in the highly developed area with access to multiple public transportation options. That promotes walking and active lifestyle for both visitors and employees as well as reduces the CO2 emissions associated with the commute.

Learn more about the full-scale renovation at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL)