Joel Sanders Architect

NYU Bobst Library

The Bobst Pixel Veil addresses dual design challenges: the creation of a secure yet visually porous membrane that is aesthetically compatible with the atrium designed by Philip Johnson in 1968. The Pixel Veil consists of laser-cut aluminum panels and vertical supports painted to match the existing bronze handrail. Each laser-cut panel is inscribed with a perforated pattern – the Pixel Matrix – composed using an underlying 4” grid whose spacing aligns with the vertical stanchions of the original railings while also complying with ADA building codes.

Responding to the surrounding context, modular perforations gradually dissolve along the atrium perimeter from south to north, becoming visually more open towards the stacks and park. At the top level, the perforated veil terminates in a glass clerestory. The Pixel Matrix builds on the affinity between the original building and the language of digital information – both rely on the logic of the square matrix. Pixel Matrix references the building’s underlying square grid that Johnson expressed in the square coffered ceiling and concentric square reading lights, as well as the language of digital information that encrypts data through bar codes composed of square modules.

Location New York, NY
Size 7,000 SF
Year 2012
Photos Peter Aaron / ESTO