Harlem Children’s Zone
New York, NY


Located on a prominent corner at 125th Street and Madison Avenue, this multi-use building is the new home of Harlem Children’s Zone, a pioneering not-for-profit that works to enhance the quality of life for underserved families through a network of school-based programs. The building provides space for several major programs including the Promise Academy Charter School, a medical clinic, a neighborhood center, and administrative offices. Reflecting Harlem Children’s Zone mission to engage the community, the transparent façades reveal the activity inside and project the center’s dynamism into the city. The building’s scale mediates between its commercial and residential neighbors. Warm-colored brick and carefully proportioned windows complement the adjacent brownstones while projecting a contemporary and vibrant image.

Davis Brody Bond met the client’s request for an open stair linking all floors — often prohibited by code requirements — by carefully coordinating fire suppression and smoke evacuation systems to ensure occupant safety. Davis Brody Bond achieved the project’s aggressive schedule and budget with a fast-track delivery approach, productive collaboration with the contractor, and intelligent value engineering. Harlem Children’s Zone opened on time and has become an instant Harlem landmark. The building is in constant use by the owner and community groups seven days a week from morning to late at night. The gymnasium and cafeteria space, both accessible by a separate entrance, have become an invaluable community resource.