New Lobby For Harlem Senior Center

New York, NY
New Design in Historic Setting

The senior center is operated by the Presbyterian Senior Services in the Metropolitan Baptist Church, an individual New York City Landmark, designed in 1844 by John Rochester Thomas, with an addition designed in 1890 by Richard R. Davis.

The functional problem to be solved is how to provide a separate, dignified, handicap accessible entry into the lower floor for the seniors who presently have to go through the church.

The esthetic problem to be solved is how to create a beneficial relationship between this beautiful massive historic building and the new intervention.

We decided to use the slice of space that is the areaway along Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. The areaway's two-story volume will be enclosed by a clear glass structure in which a handicap platform and new stairs will be located. We chose glass for the enclosure for its transparency and its modernity in relation to the massive historic building. The possibilities offered by modern glass technology also make possible a fresh approach to the connection between the old and the new. Gaskets and other non invasive jointing technologies will allow the addition to be joined to the rough stone of the church wall by pressure instead of by carving (the traditional reglet).

Client: Presbyterian Senior Services
Square Footage: 5,000 Square Feet
Number of Stories: 2
Status:Feasibility study completed