This month the Harlem School of the Arts will break ground on a $9.5 million renovation titled “The Renaissance Project.” Under the direction of Imrey Studio, the core of the project includes a replacement of the structure’s brick exterior with a double-height glass façade to both promote the flow of natural light into the building and amplify the school’s interaction with the surrounding neighborhood.
Located in Harlem at 645 St. Nicholas Avenue, the school was founded in 1964 as a small special arts program for students of all ages. The building was later expanded in 1979 to include a new 37,000-square-foot brutalist-style facility designed by architect Ulrich Franzen. The Renaissance Project’s large swaths of clear glass are an attractive negation of that original design.
The scope of work also includes a transformation of the existing lobby area into a tech-infused gallery and performance space, in addition to roofing and window repairs where necessary.
Philanthropist and musician Herb Alpert along with his wife, Grammy Award-winning vocalist and author Lani Hall Alpert, have graciously donated the entire $9.5 million cost of construction through the Herb Alpert Foundation. The new facility is expected to debut by 2020.