With today being both National Women’s Day and National Book Lover’s Day, it makes sense to put the spotlight on some reading nooks designed by female bookworms in the architecture and design fields.
Before diving into a roundup, however, let’s first take a look at some numbers that are relevant to this double-holiday. Unfortunately, the most recent American Time Use Survey found that the percentage of Americans aged 15 and older who read for pleasure on a daily basis dropped from 28% in 2004 to 19% in 2017.
However, reading is key to social progress, according to the American Libraries Association. Due to a lack of literacy, nine in 10 adults don’t understand the information they receive in healthcare documents, a 2018 ALA survey reported. Additionally, 58% of voters polled said they believe public libraries advance education and the majority of respondents said they are vital for communities.
Women in architecture and design are also fighting the good fight. According to the “2016 Women in Architecture” study from The Architectural Review, which polled 1,152 female architects globally, one in five surveyed wouldn’t recommend a career in architecture to other women, and 67% said the industry does not embrace their authority. And despite progress on both academic and professional levels, just 26% of the architectural workforce in the United States was female as of 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But since today is about celebrating, here are a few libraries, both public and in residential buildings, that were designed by women in my hometown of New York City and beyond:
Developed by the original builders of Rockefeller Center and designed with Art Deco flair, Rose Hill is a new 45-story condo at 30 E. 29th St. in NoMad. Designed by international architecture firm CetraRuddy, the tower will include a lobby level and a 37th-floor sky lounge each featuring a curated library from The Strand bookstore. Crafted by Nancy Ruddy, together with her husband John Cetra, on the ground floor residents can cozy up with a novel next to an 8-foot marble fireplace and a grand spiral staircase under a custom chandelier. On the 37th level, the space offers scenic Manhattan views. “The best libraries have always been places of inspiration, so from a design perspective we like to think of them not just as book-lined rooms, but as uplifting environments where knowledge is imparted and where you can feel a sense of wonder about the world,” Ruddy said. “Our approach at Rose Hill ties in to the Rockefeller family’s storied cultural history, which touches libraries, museums, and art venues across New York.” Rose Hill will include 123 condos and is slated for completion in 2020.