Department of Design and Construction311Search all websites

Kew Gardens Hills Library Named “Best New Urban Amenity” by The Municipal Art Society of New York

DDC honored by MASNYC for third year in a row

March 19, 2018

Ian Michaels

Long Island City, NY – Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today that following an $8.1 million DDC renovation, the Kew Gardens Hills Library at 72-33 Vleigh Place in Queens has been awarded “Best New Urban Amenity” by The Municipal Art Society of New York (MASNYC). The Society’s MASterworks Awards will be presented at a ceremony on April 11 in Manhattan.

“Under the Design and Construction Excellence program, the Kew Gardens Hills Library adheres closely to DDC guidelines that promote sustainable and healthy living,” said Acting Commissioner Barrio. “We’re very proud to provide a superior public building to the community, and to be recognized by the Municipal Art Society for the third year in a row.”

children inside Kew Garden Hills Library
The children’s books section of the Kew Gardens Hills Library after its ribbon cutting ceremony on September 6th

The 52-year-old library reopened in September 2017 after a renovation that expanded the facility and made it fully ADA-accessible. The project increased the size of the library by 3,000 square feet. The building was also upgraded with state-of-the-art electrical, plumbing, temperature control and fire protection systems. New large windows allow for natural light to enter deep into the building, which reduces the building’s carbon footprint. Additionally, the building is certified LEED Silver for environmental sustainability, and has a new green roof that helps shrink energy costs and better manages stormwater runoff.

In addition to being one of the City’s most sustainable libraries, the Kew Gardens Hills branch offers a unique architectural design which welcomes the community, incorporating materials such as metal tiles, a polycarbonate ceiling and glass fiber paneling. The interior of the space was outfitted with partitions to allow for work spaces, a general reading room, a children’s corner, offices, new restrooms, a reference desk and a community room.

The library was designed by a firm in the DDC’s Design and Construction Excellence program. The program, which began in 2004, minimizes the timeline for the design procurement process while ensuring the highest levels of quality and professionalism in design and construction projects managed by the agency. All firms in the program are committed to incorporating design guidelines to ensure that public projects are designed and built to the highest standards that comply with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vision of a sustainable, resilient, equitable and healthy City.

The program currently has 26 firms enlisted in four tiers, arranged by project size, that respond to mini-RFPs for design services for DDC projects where construction costs are projected to be $50 million or under. Thirteen of the firms qualify as Minority- or Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). DDC is currently seeking to expand the program to projects over $50 million.

Consultants for the project included Work Architecture Co., Lilker Associates, Leslie E. Robertson Associates, ADS Engineers, Noresco, Inc. and Tectonic Engineering. Contractors were S&N Builders, Inc., Eastern Plumbing and Heating, Midtown HVAC Enterprises and Q&Y Electric Co.

The Kew Gardens Hills Library before DDC’s renovation
The Kew Gardens Hills Library after DDC’s renovation
The Kew Gardens Hills Library before (left) and after (right) DDC’s renovation

In 2016, DDC received two MASterworks awards, including “Best New Building” for the Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Sanitation Garage and Salt Shed and “Best Neighborhood Catalyst” for its restoration of the High Bridge. In 2017, DDC received the MASterworks “Best New Infrastructure” award for its construction of Public Safety Answering Center II in the Bronx.

Selected each year by jury, the MASterworks Awards “pay tribute to projects that make a significant contribution to New York City’s built environment,” according to MASNYC. This year’s jury featured Dan Allen (Principal, CTA Architects P.C. & President, Historic Districts Council), Amy Freitag (Executive Director, J.M. Kaplan Fund), Amit Khurana (Founding Partner, Sumaida + Khurana & MAS Board of Directors), Alexandra Lange (Architecture Critic, Curbed) and Enrique Norten (Director/Founder, TEN Arquitectos).

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $13 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit