Harlem Village Academies commissioned CTA Architects in 2015 to do a schematic review of an existing, 4-story with 5th floor addition, brownstone for re-use as graduate school classrooms and offices. We faced the design challenge of fitting 3 classrooms, 4 offices, a conference room, library, pantry, lounge, and ADA restrooms within the existing narrow (<20’) footprint.

Our design objective was to keep the charm of the exposed brick walls and fireplaces, while updating the interior to a clean, easy to maintain aesthetic. We chose neutral colors to accommodate the flexible use of the space and pendant light fixtures in the classrooms to accentuate the height of the ceilings. The existing hardwood floors were refinished, preserving the elegance the existing elements.  The new HVAC system was concealed in dropped ceilings and in the basement.

At the rear yard, a wood deck, which had to feel all together pleasant, open and accessible, was constructed to accommodate ADA accessibility. Medium size trees were planted around the perimeter to provide shade and privacy from the residential neighbors on the three adjacent properties, and a verdant escape. The fence was designed with horizontal boards, used to elongate the rear yard, making it feel larger than it actually is: accommodating up to 20 people at a time.

The final construction scope included ADA accessibility from sidewalk level and throughout the building. Previous construction on the property was never officially signed-off and closed out at the DOB, so CTA was responsible for clearing all old violations and open application items.


Project Address: 60 West 124th Street, NY, NY 10027

Owner: Harlem Village Academies, 34 West 124th Street, NY, NY 10027

Actual Budget: $1,500,000