David Adjaye Designs New Home For Harlem’s Studio Museum

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British-Tanzanian architect David Adjaye has been commissioned to layout a new property for the Studio Museum in Harlem – an institution committed to marketing the perform of artists of African descent.

The New York museum is currently housed in a renovated, century-outdated constructing on 125th Street, which runs through the centre of the historic African-American neighbourhood. Adjaye’s building will replace this, and will also extend the museum into an adjacent good deal.

The new facility will be the very first developed expressly for the museum’s program, which showcases function by artists of African descent and function inspired by black culture, dating from the 19th century to current day. It holds a lot more than two,000 pieces in its permanent collection.

Adjaye – who lately completed function on a housing block in Harlem – took cues from Harlem’s brownstone buildings, churches and “bustling sidewalks,” with his design for the 5-storey museum constructing.

Studio Museum by David Adjaye

“This task is about pushing the museum typology to a new location and pondering about the show and reception of artwork in progressive ways,” explained Adjaye.

“It is also about a potent urban resonance — drawing on the architectural tropes of Harlem and celebrating the history and culture of this extraordinary community with a building that will be a beacon for a developing nearby, national and worldwide audience.”


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The proposed design shows a choppy facade of irregular blocks that stands in contrast to the reduced-slung, blocky industrial buildings that line 125th Street. The facade will be punctuated with windows of various sizes – a fenestration type that was inspired by the masonry-framed windows that characterise the area’s apartment buildings.

To amplify the museum’s street presence and emphasise its perform as a social hub, Adjaye has conceived a 199-seat “inverted stoop” – a set of steps that prospects down to the museum’s lower level and can be utilized for screenings, performances and other events. Stoops are a typical feature in historic brownstone buildings.

For the upper portion of the museum, Adjaye has proposed a terrace that overlooks 125th Street.

Within, the museum will feature a 4-story atrium that is meant to mimic  “the radiant, soaring volumes of church sanctuaries.” A switchback stair will rise up by means of this space, with numerous landings serving as look-out points.

dezeen_Africa-is-an-extraordinary-opportunity-at-the-moment-David-Adjaye_03 David Adjaye. Copyright Dezeen

The constructing, slated to price \$122 million (£79,000,000), is becoming funded by way of a public-personal partnership. So far, New York City has allocated \$35 million (£23,000,000) for the task.


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New York-primarily based Cooper Robertson – which previously worked on the Renzo Piano-designed Whitney Museum of Art – will serve as executive architect and system planning advisor.

Studio Museum intends to submit Adjaye’s conceptual layout to the city’s public design commission on 14 July 2015. If all approvals are granted, the present developing will be demolished, and building of the new museum will be underway in 2017 – the year of the museum’s 50th anniversary. Completion is scheduled for 2019.

Sugar Hill housing by David AdjayeSugar Hill housing development, Harlem

The museum first opened in 1968 in a rented loft on 125th Street. Considering that 1982, it has operated in the century-previous developing renovated for the museum by late African-American architect J Max Bond Jr. In 2001, Rogers Marvel Architects redesigned many parts of the museum, such as its entrance and auditorium.

“The world of the arts and Harlem have both changed drastically above the half century given that our institution was founded, and we’re proud that the Studio Museum has been a catalyst in individuals developments,” mentioned Thelma Golden, the museum’s director and chief curator.

“With the help of the brilliant David Adjaye, who is giving us the first facility made expressly for our wants, we will foster the subsequent generation of artists.”

Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture by David Adjaye and FABSmithsonian Museum of African American Historical past and Culture, Washington DC

The project is a substantial addition to Adjaye’s ever-developing US portfolio, which contains the Sugar Hill Museum and housing growth in Harlem and two neighbourhood libraries in Washington DC.

Founded in 2000, Adjaye’s company has offices in the Uk, US, Germany and Ghana. His firm also has created the Smithsonian Institution’s Nationwide Museum of African American Background and Culture on the Nationwide Mall in Washington, DC, which is expected to open in 2016.

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