High Bridge Library – Addition and Renovations to Existing Building

Creating the Most Beautiful Urban Library


The Bronx, NY


New York City Department of Design & Construction

Project Cost

$5 million


The New York Public Library tasked LiRo with providing both architecture and interior design services for the renovation of The High Bridge Library, which they wanted to become a neighborhood landmark and gathering place.

About the Project

LiRo transformed the aging High Bridge Library, erected in 1976, into a welcoming space permeated by daylight. The objective of this project was to provide a general renovation and to modernize the facility and its services for the staff and the public. The New York Public Library wanted to remove the recess at the outside of the entrance area so that it would not be a place for people to congregate.

Project Challenges & Solutions

In response to these specific requests, LiRo literally raised the roof of the building to allow natural light to flood in, creating a luminous and expansive space that inspires gathering and learning.

LiRo also took some other creative approaches to turn this location into the warm community center it now is. In homage to the neighborhood’s defining landmarks, LiRo’s in-house talent created watercolor murals of the High Bridge aqueduct and water tower for the library’s main entrance, lobby, and children’s reading room. A whimsical three-dimensional illustration of a tree emerges from the mural to shelter the children’s story area in which children gather on a circular amphitheater covered in grass-imaged carpeting. Bright green circles of flooring denote gathering areas in both the children and adult reading rooms, while brightly-colored modern furniture creates a cheerful atmosphere in a clean, modern space welcoming to adults and children alike.


The transformed library is now that beautiful gathering place sought by the New York Public Library. “I believe that we are standing in the most beautiful urban library in America,” said Paul LeClerc, President and CEO of the New York Public Library, at the grand opening of the High Bridge branch. He also called the Children’s Reading Room “the single most beautiful space in New York.”


Architecture & Sustainable Design


Cultural/ Civic