The Studio Museum in Harlem today announced that it will construct a new home on Manhattan’s West 125th Street, replacing its current facility with a structure designed expressly for its program by architect David Adjaye. The conceptual design to be presented for review by the Public Design Commission of the City of New York draws on and transforms characteristic aspects of Harlem’s architecture, including its brownstones and churches.
The masonry-framed windows of the neighborhood’s apartment buildings have inspired a rhythmic facade composed of windows of varying sizes and proportions. Inside the museum, the radiant, soaring volumes of church sanctuaries will find an equivalent in a toplit central hall, with ample wall area to install large-scale works of art. A switchback stair rising through four floors will create multiple look-out points from the landings. Throughout the building, visitors will have ample opportunities to contemplate both the museum interior and the vibrant streetscape outside, creating an experience anchored firmly in the history and community of the Harlem neighborhood.
To add to the building’s street presence and emphasize the museum’s function as a gathering place, Adjaye has conceived a 199-seat “inverted stoop”: a set of descending steps that begins at the sidewalk and leads down to the lower level, which can be used as a stage for lectures, screenings and performances. Thanks to the transparency of the building at sidewalk level, people on 125th Street will feel drawn into the liveliness of this unprecedented gathering place and be able to join it at will, since the Studio Museum anticipates that the entrance and lower levels will be accessible free of charge during normal museum hours.
The conceptual design proposes galleries sensitively configured in varying proportions and scales to accommodate the wide variety of works in the permanent collection and many sizes and types of temporary exhibitions. Studios for the artists in residence, staff offices and education spaces will be thoughtfully designed and fully-equipped for maximum efficiency, flexibility, accessibility and comfort. Adjaye’s preliminary design will be submitted to the Public Design Commission of the City of New York on July 14. The new building aims to be completed in 2018 to coincide with the Studio Museum’s 50th anniversary. Source by Sudio Museum in Harlem. Source and images Courtesy of David Adjaye.