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The transformation of a crumbling, former public school into an apartment building for low and middle-income New Yorkers and a new Boys and Girls Club was decades in the making. Vacated by the public school system in the late 1970s, and purchased by the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem in the 1980s, Dattner Architects restored the five-story building after 40 years of neglect and converted it into affordable housing and a community facility.

PS 186 was designed by architect C.B.J. Snyder, Superintendent of School Buildings for the New York City Board of Education, and completed in 1903. Despite its deteriorated condition at the start of the project, as a result of the sensitive adaptive reuse and restoration, the building was approved by the National Parks Service as a historically significant example of early 20th century school architecture, is included on the National Register of Historic Places, and is once-again a neighborhood anchor.

The transformation of a crumbling, former public school into an apartment building for low and middle-income New Yorkers and a new Boys and Girls Club was decades in the making. Vacated by the public school system in the late 1970s, and purchased by the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem in the 1980s, Dattner Architects restored the five-story building after 40 years of neglect and converted it into affordable housing and a community facility.

PS 186 was designed by architect C.B.J. Snyder, Superintendent of School Buildings for the New York City Board of Education, and completed in 1903. Despite its deteriorated condition at the start of the project, as a result of the sensitive adaptive reuse and restoration, the building was approved by the National Parks Service as a historically significant example of early 20th century school architecture, is included on the National Register of Historic Places, and is once-again a neighborhood anchor.

Then & Now

The restored building’s exterior and historic features within, such as ornamental staircases and corridors—add to the charm of the residential space. The residential portion of this mixed-income, mixed-use development offers a variety of apartment layouts, each configured within the footprint of the original.

The restored building’s exterior and historic features within, such as ornamental staircases and corridors—add to the charm of the residential space. The residential portion of this mixed-income, mixed-use development offers a variety of apartment layouts, each configured within the footprint of the original.

Boys & Girls Club of Harlem (BGCH)

As a tribute to the building’s original use, the former primary student entrance is now the BGCH’s main entrance. The design team’s concepts highlight historic features of the original building and weave in modern elements that embody the culture of the neighborhood. Historic corridors offer a sense of the building’s past, contrasted by modern insertions, animating the space. Materials and light convey a warm and inviting environment, and bright, bold furniture accommodates a variety of program uses.

As a tribute to the building’s original use, the former primary student entrance is now the BGCH’s main entrance. The design team’s concepts highlight historic features of the original building and weave in modern elements that embody the culture of the neighborhood. Historic corridors offer a sense of the building’s past, contrasted by modern insertions, animating the space. Materials and light convey a warm and inviting environment, and bright, bold furniture accommodates a variety of program uses.

Location
New York, NY
Area
112,000 sf
Completion
2016
Clients
Boys & Girls Club of Harlem
Alembic Community Development
Monadnock Construction
Recognition
AIA NY Center for Architecture—Authenticity & Innovation Exhibition
AIA QUAD State—Preservation Design Honor Award
Building Design + Construction—Platinum Restoration Award
Interior Design Magazine—NYCxDesign Award Honorable Mention
New York Landmarks Conservancy—Lucy G. Moses Award
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation—Historic Preservation Award
SARA NY—Design Award of Merit
View Project Facts
Location
New York, NY
Area
112,000 sf
Completion
2016
Clients
Boys & Girls Club of Harlem
Alembic Community Development
Monadnock Construction
Recognition
AIA NY Center for Architecture—Authenticity & Innovation Exhibition
AIA QUAD State—Preservation Design Honor Award
Building Design + Construction—Platinum Restoration Award
Interior Design Magazine—NYCxDesign Award Honorable Mention
New York Landmarks Conservancy—Lucy G. Moses Award
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation—Historic Preservation Award
SARA NY—Design Award of Merit
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