Celebrating local, national, and international artists of African descent, the new Studio Museum in New York City's Harlem neighborhood—designed by David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates and New York–based Cooper Robertson—is set to break ground in Fall 2018. The institution, founded in 1968, supports artists and art education, as well as Harlem’s community, through its exhibitions and education and community programs. The 82,000-square-foot facility will replace the original building at 144 West 125th street, a century-old building which was last renovated by architect J. Max Bond Jr. in 1979, just in time for the museum’s 50th anniversary next year.
“We look forward to constructing a building that provides unprecedented resources for our work and creates a superb new cultural landmark for Harlem and the entire City of New York,” said Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the museum. The new building is designed to reflect the museum’s values of openness and engagement, with a light-filled core and a tiered public hall that acts as a sort of “inverted stoop,” according to an emailed press release by Studio Museum Harlem. Niches are incorporated on the façade on two sides of the building, on 124th and 125th Street, which will display permanent sculptures. The façade itself contrasts with neighboring commercial buildings, made of textured concrete, with its “porous, welcoming presence,” according to the press release.
The building will feature five above-ground floors and a lower one, all of which will provide room for presentations, performances, lectures, and educational activities, a welcome center, a café, and a roof terrace. The second, third, and fourth floors will house the museum’s permanent collections and provide galleries for temporary exhibitions, while the fourth floor will also provide space for an exhibition gallery and the museum’s artist-in-residence program that supports emerging artists of African and Latino decent. In all, the building will provide 115 percent more space for art exhibits, 47 percent more space for education and public programs, and a 105 percent increase in outdoor space.