Sweet Home for Adjaye on Harlem’s Sugar Hill

The Architect’s Newspaper | November 11, 2010

If designing the African American Museum of History and Culture on the Washington Mall has brought national prestige to London-based architect David Adjaye, the more recent commission to design a new type of low-income housing for Harlem that incorporates a children’s museum, among other community-aimed offerings, will attract equal parts admiration and appreciation.

Last month, the City Council unanimously approved the rezoning of the site—located on a high bluff at the northern edge of Sugar Hill, a landmarked district associated with the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s—from commercial to residential use, clearing the way for the $70 million plan to create 124 units of affordable housing within a 13-story building at 404-414 West 155th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. A period garage with terra-cotta detailing will need to be demolished, but that does not appear to be unleashing preservationists’ protest, as the new project is so clearly needed to give the economically-stressed area a boost. The developer has also promised to photographically record anything of historical interest.

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