British architecture firm Foster + Partners has been selected to renovate the New York Public Library's Fifth Avenue Beaux-Arts building. Norman Foster, who married new with old at the British Museum in London and the Hearst Tower in NYC, told the NY Times, "It's the greatest project ever."

According the NYPL, Foster and his team will be tasked to "transform" the Humanities and Social Sciences Library into the "world's largest comprehensive library open to the public." The iconic building has been a research library for almost 40 years, but it will have "extensive circulating collections" and "expansive new reading rooms with open shelf circulating collections overlooking Bryant Park." The Times explains that the circulation library will be below the Rose Reading Room, where "seven levels of stacks and a basement" are currently located. The 1.25 million cubic feet of space will be "completely reconfigured...with new rooms for children and teenagers and numerous computer work stations." Yes, there will also be WiFi, meeting rooms, and even a cafe.

The NYPL, which is embarking on a $1.2 billion plan to overhaul the entire system, believes its visitors will triple to 3.5 million, when the project is completed by 2013, attracting "a diverse range of users, including young children, students, scholars, writers, entrepreneurs, and casual readers." And NYPL president Paul LeClerc said of picking Foster, "We had to have someone as good as Carrere & Hastings. We had to create a second masterpiece."