From the NY Times:
The building’s beguiling appearance — with giant free-form windows carved out of an 80-foot-tall rectangular facade of rough aluminum — should make it an instantly recognizable landmark. Seen from Manhattan, it will have a haunting presence on the waterfront, flanked by the red neon Pepsi-Cola sign to the north and the remnants of an abandoned ferry terminal to the south. At dusk the library’s odd-shaped windows will emit an eerie glow, looking a bit like ghosts trapped inside a machine. And late at night, when the building is dark, spotlights will illuminate its pockmarked facade and the windows will resemble caves dug into the wall of a cliff.
Only at the site itself, however, will the optimism driving Mr. Holl’s design come into focus. The library will stand at the western edge of Queens West, a soulless mix of generic apartment towers and barren streets built up in the last decade or so that has neither the dilapidated charm of the old manufacturing neighborhoods to the east nor the density of a real urban neighborhood. (The development’s one saving grace is a narrow park that snakes along the riverfront; its steel gantries, once used for loading boats, are an ode to the area’s industrial past.)
Mr. Holl ’s design is not about escaping this world but transforming it into something more poetic. Approaching from the towers across the street, visitors will enter a tranquil reading garden, a little paradise walled off from the gloomy scene that surrounds it. Ginkgo trees will shade the garden, partly blocking the view of the towers. As visitors move closer to the library, they will be able to see through the lobby windows and out over a reflecting pool and the riverfront park. Other odd-shaped windows will allow diagonal glimpses up through the building and out to the sky.
...the overscaled cut-out openings are powerfully metaphorical. They suggest the desire to expose private, interior worlds to public scrutiny, and — by seeming to undermine the buildings’ structural stability — they evoke an unstable, ever-changing world.