the studio museum in harlem has announced that british architect david adjaye will design a new home for the institution on manhattan’s west 125th street, replacing its current facility. the five-storey, 71,000-square-foot project will provide expanded custom-built facilities, showcasing work by artists of african descent and standing as harlem’s principal visual art institution. as well as enabling the museum to better serve its growing and diverse audiences, the scheme will also provide a range of educational opportunities.


an expansion in space of more than 50 percent for the galleries and the acclaimed artist-in-residence program seeks to enrich visitor experience, and enable the institution to greatly expand its schedule of exhibitions. indoor public space will increase by almost 60 percent, with spaces for educational activities and public programs doubled in capacity and integrated with the rest of the building. consequently, this enhances the institution’s role as a gathering place for harlem residents, and the wider new york community.


through referencing harlem’s familiar brownstones, churches and bustling sidewalks, adjaye presents a dynamic, sculptural façade that exists in contrast with the neighboring commercial buildings. at its core, the building contains a light-filled void that connects each of the museum’s four storeys. each level contains a variety of generously proportioned spaces for installing artworks, including pieces that will be visible from outside the building as beacons.


‘I am so honored to be working on the studio museum in harlem,’ commented david adjaye. this project is about pushing the museum typology to a new place and thinking about the display and reception of art in innovative ways. it is also about a powerful urban resonance—drawing on the architectural tropes of harlem and celebrating the history and culture of this extraordinary neighborhood with a building that will be a beacon for a growing local, national and international audience.’


adjaye associates will work in conjunction with cooper robertson, the project’s executive architect and project planning consultants. construction work is expected to begin in 2017, with a completion date scheduled for 2019.


main image © adjaye associates + cooper, robertson & partners / courtesy the new york times