Construction Update: The Schomburg Center

South facade from West 135th Street.

Construction is wrapping up at Marble Fairbanks' renovation of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. As part of the New York Public Library system, the research center is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and providing access to materials documenting black life in America and worldwide.

The renovation project focused on engaging the public and the Harlem neighborhood by displaying a portion of the center's collection to the street. A new glass and metal panel storefront, with a frit pattern based on a map of the neighborhood, wraps the east and south facades, opening up views to the interior spaces at the ground floor. The gift shop has been relocated to the southern boundary of the site in a new space with floor to ceiling glass and video screens facing out to the street. A large LED display board integrated into the new storefront at the southeast corner of the building displays upcoming events. Other improvements include a new landscape plaza along the eastern edge of the site with new plantings and seating designed by SCAPE.

Southwest corner detail.

South facade fritted glass detail. 

The Schomburg Gift Shop.

Looking up at the southeast corner with signage and message board.

Signage gate at the south facade.

Gate detail.


Looking up at the new glass curtain wall at the east facade.

East facade.

Public space seating.

Sidewalk paving pattern.

Architect: Marble Fairbanks; Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates; MEP Engineer: Plus Group PLLC; Landscape Architect: SCAPE; Client: New York City Department of Design and Construction, New York City Public Library, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Program: Library, Research Center, Retail; Location: Harlem, New York, NY; Completion: 2017.