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Can Architect Francine Houben Remake the Public Library?

The majestic public library that stands at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan is not at its best. For one thing, an edifice that is perhaps the most compelling symbol of this city's free-wheeling, egalitarian intellectual spirit is now known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman building, renamed in 2008 for a Wall Street heavyweight, the billionaire chairman and CEO of the Blackstone Group, in return for a $100 million donation. While the New York Public Library was, in fact, established with private money and has long depended on the generosity of philanthropic donors, naming the entire building after one of them seems awkward and not a little short-sighted. What can they do when the next big-ticket donor comes along: offer to rename the lions?

But renovation offers opportunities >>