THE STUDIO MUSEUM IN HARLEM TO CONSTRUCT A BUILDING BY DAVID ADJAYE
Undertaken as a public-private initiative with support from the City of New York, the five-story, 71,000-square-foot project will provide the custom-built and expanded facilities, enriched visitor experience and strong architectural presence appropriate to a premier center for contemporary artists of African de
ADJAYE ASSOCIATES / COOPER, ROBERTSON & PARTNERS
8. July 2015
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. Undertaken as a public-private initiative with support from the City of New York, the five-story, 71,000-squarefoot project will provide the custom-built and expanded facilities, enriched visitor experience and strong architectural presence appropriate to a premier center for contemporary artists of African descent, the principal visual art institution in Harlem and a magnet for visitors from around the world. The new building will enable the Studio Museum to better serve its growing and diverse audiences, provide additional educational opportunities to museumgoers from toddlers to seniors, expand its world-renowned exhibitions of art by artists of African descent and influenced and inspired by black culture, and effectively display its singular collection of artwork from the nineteenth century to the present day. “For generations, artists living and working in Harlem have had an enormous impact on the character and sensibilities of this country. And for the last 50 years The Studio Museum in Harlem has been a pillar for this community, studying, promoting, supporting, and contributing to the cultural fabric of this extraordinary neighborhood and amplifying voices of artists of African descent for an international audience,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“The City’s investment in the future of this organization signals our commitment to helping the Studio Museum grow, engaging a wide audience and maintaining New York’s position at the center of American spirit and identity.” 2 With construction expected to be in progress by 2017, the project will add to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Studio Museum, which opened in 1968 in a rented loft at Fifth Avenue and 125th Street and has been operating since 1982 in a century-old commercial building renovated for it by the celebrated African-American architect J. Max Bond, Jr.
Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, stated, “The world of the arts and Harlem have both changed dramatically over the half century since our institution was founded, and we’re proud that the Studio Museum has been a catalyst in those developments. Now, as a standard-bearer for contemporary artists of African descent, we’re poised to begin a new era. With the help of the brilliant David Adjaye, who is giving us the first facility designed expressly for our needs, we will foster the next generation of artists. We will bring the creative achievements of our artists, past and present, to audiences from near and far. And, more than ever, we will heighten the special vibrancy that is synonymous with Harlem.”
An increase in space of more than 50 percent for the galleries and the acclaimed Artistin-Residence program will enrich visitor experience at the Studio Museum and enable the institution to greatly expand its schedule of exhibitions while presenting ongoing installations of works from its important and rapidly growing permanent collection, now containing nearly 2000 objects. Indoor public space will increase by almost 60 percent, with spaces for educational activities and public programs doubled in capacity and integrated seamlessly with the rest of the building, enhancing the Studio Museum’s role as a gathering place for Harlem residents, the wider New York community and the international art world. The Museum intends to file plans for the building’s conceptual design with the Public Design Commission of the City of New York on July 14. Taking its architectural cues from the brownstones, churches and bustling sidewalks of Harlem, David Adjaye’s conceptual design envisions a dynamic, sculptural facade that contrasts strongly with the surrounding commercial buildings, while being transparent and porous from street level. Designed to function as an exhibition gallery, an archive, a workplace for artists in residence and a “living room” for the Harlem community and its visitors, the new building features a light-filled core that soars upward for four stories; an “inverted stoop” that invites the public into a lively multi-use space for lectures, performances, informal gatherings and more; a terrace overlooking 125th Street; and a variety of graciously proportioned spaces for installing artworks, including pieces that will be visible from outside the building as beacons for the museum.