Continuing the practice’s longstanding investigation into the design of houses and domestic space, Sugar Hill is a new low-income apartment project in Manhattan’s historic Harlem neighbourhood. Generated by a tight budget as well as the exacting parameters of the site, the concept challenges the traditional typology. Unusually, the scheme incorporates a public programme, with a children’s museum and day-care facility, which resonates with Adjaye Associates’ commitment to a wider urban and cultural responsibility. Initiated by a non-profit developer of supportive housing, Broadway Housing Communities (BHC), the 13-storey, 124-apartment affordable housing complex will be located on W. 155th Street at St. Nicholas Avenue. The practice worked closely with the client and local community to ensure the design is tied to its history, practical and aesthetic requirements, through a series of workshops and planning meetings. The brief required a modern design complementary to its surrounding environment of Gothic revival row-houses.
The response is a textured slab building, which crowns a 76ft base that steps back at the ninth floor to create a 10ft terrace and cantilever on opposite sides. The textured cladding is achieved with rose embossed pre-cast panels, which are inexpensive while achieving a textured, ornamental effect. Saw-toothed fenestration fans across both façades, referencing bay windows that are a common feature of the area. These windows also frame views of the Harlem River and the new Yankee Stadium. Terraces are placed on the 2nd, 3rd, 9th, and roof levels. At the base of the building is a Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling. The 18,036 square feet area has been designed with interactive exhibition and performance spaces. The second floor will house a 12,196 square feet, light filled day care centre and offices for BHC are located on the 9th floor.