e125 East Harlem Media City

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e125 East Harlem Media City
New York, New York
2007
with the Yale Urban Design Workshop

This project for a “superblock” redevelopment of two blocks in East Harlem at the foot of the Triborough Bridge was an RFP response prepared by the YUDW as lead designers for a team including Breslin Realty, KPF, and H3 and submitted to the New York City Economic Development Corporation.  The project derives its agenda from the superimposition of several intense new uses which, layered and woven together, create a powerful urban character and image providing both a beacon and anchor for the eastern end of the 125th Street corridor.  A major new media center, including cinemas, studio production spaces and offices, and a connected 120-room hotel with restaurants, bar and meeting rooms, holds down the corner of 125th and 3rd Avenue and extends north along 3rd creating a vibrant frontage leading to parks and the river one block away.  Ground floor frontage along both 3rd and 125th is devoted to local retail, punctuated by residential lobbies connecting to 700 new units of mixed-income housing, with another 100 units across the street at the southeast corner of 125th and 3rd.  Sandwiched in between the ground floor retail and the residential court above are two levels (300,000 square feet) of large floor plate retail space for national chains accessible from a street level lobby as well as a grand urban staircase, both connected to a pedestrian plaza at the corner of 125th and 3rd.  All of this is served by over 1,000 new on-site parking spaces dedicated to the project.  The design dramatizes the joints and connections between different components of the project, literally creating “reveals” at those joints, where openings and transparent public spaces provide views back and forth from the spaces of the project to the street and beyond.  The most important and dramatic of these connections is a monumental staircase/plaza ascending from 125th Street at the corner of 3rd Avenue to the residential courtyard at the heart of the project.  Arriving at the great courtyard, one passes between a community room with a clock tower above, a daycare center serving the residents and the neighborhood and arrives at an expanse of landscaped residential court (2.4 acres) on the scale of Grammercy Park or the Old Campus at Yale University.  The court is surrounded at ground level by townhouses and garden apartments, with additional housing above.  This mix of housing types creates a rich neighborhood fabric and a variety of housing options serving a full range of income levels.

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