Musician/philanthropist Herb Alpert, co-founder with his wife, Lani Hall, of the Herb Alpert Foundation, have funded the core element of the $9.5 million Harlem School of the Arts “Renaissance Project.” Following discussions with WSDG Founding Partner, John Storyk, the Alpert’s were convinced that the leading architectural/acoustic/systems design firm embodied a philosophical synergy that fully aligned with their goals for the school building’s renovation.
WSDG Partner/COO/Project Manager, Joshua Morris describes the scope of the project as, “An ambitious opportunity to establish a multi-purpose performance space for Harlem School of the Arts students. The building’s 3500 square-foot main lobby features a two-story high glass wall facing St. Nicholas Avenue,” he adds.
The renovation of the entire 45,600 square-foot building is distinguished by the replacement 40-year-old building’s original two-story ‘Brutalist-style’ brick exterior. That structure was replaced by a double-height, glass wall angled at 5-degrees off the vertical, and analogous to the Appel Room which WSDG helped create for the Jazz At Lincoln complex. The design helps establish a unique acoustically ‘tuned’ performance environment. This dramatic new space serves as the focal point for a multiplicity of musical, dance and theatrical performances. Concurrent to the Harlem School Of The Arts Renaissance project, WSDG recently developed the acoustic design for Lani Hall, a small theater, in the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, and is working on other projects for the school. Architect of record for the HSA redesign is Eric K. Daniels. Lead design firm on the project was Imrey Studio, a NY-based firm recognized for its work on museum and library design, led by Celia Imrey. Most recently, The Harlem School of The Arts in partnership with The Greene Space, The Harlem Chamber Players, and Harlem Stage presented Pity These Ashes: Tulsa 1921 – 2021. The Juneteenth-streamed concert featured the world premiere of Adolphus Hailstork’s Tulsa 1921 (Pity These Ashes, Pity This Dust), and compositions by Jessie Montgomery, Alice Coltrane, and Trevor Weston.
Photography: Photos 1, 2 & 3 by Elias Williams for The New York Times.