The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of the New York Public Library, collects and preserves materials related to the cultures of people of African descent. This project includes a renovation of interior spaces throughout the Center’s four buildings, as well as a new gift shop addition along West 135th Street and a redesigned streetscape along the complex’s entire perimeter. Primary program components of this project include: galleries, including an interactive digital youth gallery; 350 seat auditorium; reading rooms; research spaces; archival storage spaces for four primary Schomburg collections including print materials, arts and artifacts, photography, moving image, and recorded sound; staff spaces; meeting rooms; and gift shop.
A key design objective of the project is to enhance how the Schomburg Center interfaces with the public and with the surrounding Harlem community by displaying portions of its vast collection and current events to the street. Features of the design include high definition LED display systems and a new landscape plaza with distinctive paving and plantings, and seating adjacent to the display areas. The new addition will relocate the existing Center’s gift shop to the first floor of the Schomburg Building and add a conference room off the second floor reading room – both of these spaces will increase the visual connections between interior spaces of the Schomburg Center and the streetscape along 135th Street.