David Adjaye is bringing another significant project to Upper Manhattan. Thirty blocks south of his $80 million affordable housing project in Sugar Hill, another notable building by the architect will rise: the new, 71,000-square-foot Studio Museum in Harlem.
The existing building. (Courtesy Studio Museum in Harlem)
The conceptual design for the five-story building boosts gallery space by 50 percent over the museum’s current 101-year-old structure which it will replace. The museum said the new building—with its mix of exhibition and archive space, artist-in-residency programs, and public programming—is intended to be a “living room” for Harlem. The building even has an “inverted stoop”—a clever name for a community-facing, multi-use performance space. Adjaye has also created exhibition spaces within the museum that are visible from the street.
“This project is about pushing the museum typology to a new place and thinking about the display and reception of art in innovative ways,” Adjaye said in a statement. “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.”
The total cost of the project is $122 million, which is being partially covered by $35.3 million in appropriations from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office, the City Council, and the Office of the Manhattan Borough President. The museum intends to present Adjaye’s conceptual design to the Public Design Commission on July 14, and construction is currently scheduled to start in 2017.