East Harlem Music Academy.
Harlem, New York

Responding to themes of transient landforms, layering, exposure and cultural flux, this project seeks to generate an architecture that is responsive, dynamic and new: immovable man-made interventions against the backdrop of fluid environmental and social change. As far as built environments go, New York still stands as one of the ultimate examples of the advances of urban, technological and cultural thought, a realised utopia. Countless events and histories have shaped our image of New York as a ‘city of the future’. The project engages with the city’s current state of evolution and proposes an imaginative, unexpected, perhaps strange, but diverse avenue for the city to follow.

The Academy is an extension of the overland Harlem Metro train station; the connection point between Harlem, central Manhattan and Northwards into the Bronx and beyond. The programme responds to the current rezoning proposal of 125th Street to regenerate and convert the area into the premier arts, culture and entertainment destination of New York. The proposition is to create a network of structures extending out from East Harlem Station that form a musical community in the heart of Harlem. It is carefully designed and constructed to specifically isolate certain frequencies and wavelengths emitted from music during performances, as well as pedestrian movement and the activity of the Metro, using visual pulsations and oscillations, to reveal a communicative, educational and an interactive extension to East Harlem Station.

The Music academy consists of a dense layer of living spaces and recording studios, teaching spaces, market stalls and performance spaces that interconnect as an orchestra, creating a relationship between the music and the people of Harlem. As a response to the current proposals in this area, this building expresses a style that is more connected to the area’s history. Its form and arrangement follows the language of existing infrastructure and architecture such as the Apollo Theatre, market spaces and the spine of the overland metro rail that cuts through Manhattan.


LOCATION | Harlem, New York.

PROGRAMME | Music studios/academy.