David Bjoerling Jensen

Tag: architecture

Payphone Booths, Re-purposed

A payphone booth?  What’s that?  Who uses those anymore?

So there’s this guy, a Columbia architecture grad, going around town with some crazy idea, i.e., fostering community involvement through the love of books…and the love of sharing them.  He’s setting up renegade mini-libraries in phone booths around Manhattan.  It’s kind of like the “take a penny, leave a penny” thingies you see on convenience store counters.  The patrons:  NYC passers by.  The only problem so far is the ambiguity regarding proper usage conduct.  The founder, however, has plans to place subtle instructions for procedure, which are pretty straight forward–borrow or share.

View this article for an interview with the creator of this novel (no pun intended), urban betterment concept.

YES, he has plans for future proliferation.  And NO, the city has not officially approved of this project.


I ♥ Public Art

Gage/Clemenceau Architects, Valentine to Times Square.

Just piggy-backing on a post from our friends at Flavorwire.com–which features a variety of fascinating feeds on subjects like art, books, music, design, film, television, and more–this post features 20 sculptures of the world’s most romantic public art.

Oh, oh yeah…Happy Valentine’s Day!

Traditional Liyuan Library 传统梨园图书馆

Tucked away in the quaint mountainous village of Huairou, China, just outside of Beijing, is a new library that utilizes both the placement of the building and choice of natural materials to harmoniously blend this structure into its pastoral natural surroundings. Its outward expression is reminiscent of the nearby villagers’ households, who routinely stack wooden sticks outside their homes to be used for fueling their cooking stoves.

The reading room.

The interior is spatially organized so as to create distinct steps, which imbue the space with a unique sense of “place” on each level. While views of the surrounding landscape are visible through certain windows, the wooden sticks that clad most of the exterior facade soften the natural lighting, which allows for a peaceful, “Zen-like” ambiance in the reading room for users to quietly take up study.

The Liyuan Library was designed by Li Xiaodong Atelier.  More information, including many more pictures, can be found here.

The Morgan Library and Museum

The East Room, the original library.

The West Room, Pierpont Morgan's study

In two words, quintessential elegance!  The Morgan Library and Museum, which houses one of the world’s greatest collections of rare books, manuscripts, drawings, prints, and art artifacts from antiquity in virtually every medium, has undergone a fairly recent restoration to bring back it’s original grandeur.  In addition to retrofitting the lighting system, which now employs LED lighting for purposes of optimum preservation, the renovation has also included cleaning marble surfaces and ornamentation, refurbishing original fixtures, reupholstering period furniture, and installing new, beautifully crafted display cases.  All rooms of the original 1906 library are now available for public viewing.

Among  a few seasonally appropriate items currently on display is a first-edition copy of A Christmas Carol, in the “Charles Dickens at 200” exhibition.

  Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol-Title page-First edition 1843.jpg

This classic novel, completed by Dickens in just six weeks, was originally printed in London by Chapman and Hall.  The first print run of 6,000 copies was released on December 17, 1843.  By Christmas Eve that year, all copies had sold out!  Click here to view a page-by-page digital facsimile of a signed, hand-written manuscript held at the Morgan.

Also on display in the Rotunda is an original sheet music printing of “The One Horse Open Sleigh.”  Commonly known as “Jingle Bells,” the song was originally composed by Pierpont Morgan’s uncle, James Lord Pierpont, in the 1850s.  This has become one of the most recognized holiday songs ever written!

Page 1 of 4, The one horse open sleigh /

 ‘Tis the season!…

**Crystal Bridges**

The museum's unassuming drive-up entrance.

Reflecting pool between gallery wings.

Nestled in an idyllic valley in the Ozark Mountains of Bentonville, Arkansas sits a brand new cultural treasure, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  Founded by Alice Walton (Wal-Mart heiress), this museum, which opened on 11-11-11, has an endowment in the ballpark of $800 million–nearly four times that of the Whitney Museum.  Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the building is an architectural showpiece in and of itself.  And as for the art, the “heartland of America” setting is perfectly appropriate for its purely American focus.  The collections span a range from the Colonial period, though the 19th and 20th centuries, and up to contemporary American art.  The works displayed in many of the gallery spaces are easily comparable to what one might find in the MoMA or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including works by Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Eakins, Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and many, many others.  Paintings are the focus, but sculptures and installation art abound.  In addition to artwork, the museum houses a library with open stacks for art reference resources, and several computer terminals with internet access, subscription databases, and art-specific research guides.  The library also contains a rare books section, all of which were printed in America.

Say what you will about Wal-Mart, but this cultural institution is well worth a visit!  Best of all, thanks to a $20 million gift from the Walton Family Foundation, the museum is FREE for everyone…forever!

For more information on the background and development of this fine museum, visit the following links to publications in:

The New Yorker

The Huffington Post

Patience and Fortitude

Flanking either side of the grandiose entrance to the New York Public Library, the stately library lions are two of New York’s most recognizable icons.  They were officially named Patience and Fortitude–character attributes he felt New Yorkers would need to sustain the Great Depression–by Mayor LaGuardia in the 1930s.

Patience, south of the main steps on 5th Avenue

Perhaps the symbolism behind the namesake of these statues serves as a timely reminder today…

20 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries!

This link features 20 pictures some truly amazing libraries!  Of those featured, my favorite is the Library of the Benedictine Monastery of Admont in Austria.

Founded in the year 1074, this library–the largest monastery library in the world–contains among its treasured holdings some 1,400 manuscripts (some dating back as far as the 8th century), as well as 530  incunabula, which detail the history of the development of the Benedictine Order.