AFRICAN SQUARE

Client: Harlem Community Development Corporation (HCDC); New York Community Board 10; New York State Department of General Services
Location: New York, NY
Status: Concept Plan / 2007
Project Team:
Glenn LaRue Smith, Principal / Urban Design

Collaboration:
Urban Technical Assistance Project – Prime (UTAP-Columbia University)
G. Smith Studio, LLC

The Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building Plaza, historically known as African Square, is one of the largest civic spaces in New York City. The conceptual design is based on the components common to the ‘African Village: walled enclosure; communal space; and active markets. The ‘village wall’ was designed as a curved transparent and permeable skin that would pronounce the village concept and balance between the new dominant plaza forms and the physical mass of the 13-story office building. Because African Square is a prime civic space in Harlem, the design responds to the functional needs of the community, office workers and tourists for functional needs such as lunch areas, concerts, markets, rallies and other sponsored programs.