in the Public Realm
Past Events

Symposium: Focus on Harlem: A Community in Transition

Recently Harlem has been undergoing a profound transformation - renovations and new construction in both residential blocks and along commercial spires, although the current economic downturn has slowed or stopped much new development. An emphasis on both new and existing cultural facilities has helped stabilize the community - and recent zoning changes point the way to harnessing economic change for the benefit of Harlem as a whole. This event describes recent efforts to reinforce Harlem's rich cultural heritage and presents a seres of case studies of recent public, private and civic projects that are helping transform the community. A follow up discussion focussed on how such strategies can help Harlem weather economic winds and set the stage for future balanced preservation and growth.

Date: August 12, 2009

Location: Center for Architecture

Organized by: AIA NY Planning & Urban Design Committee & cultureNOW

Welcome: Ernest Hutton, Chair AIA NY Planning & Urban Design Committee

Introduction: Abby Suckle FAIA

Moderator: Lance Jay Brown FAIA

Panelists: Each panelist presented their recent architectural work in Harlem

  • Fred Schwartz FAIA, Architect, the Kalahari
  • Barbara Wilks FAIA, Architect, West Harlem Piers Park
  • Roberta Washington FAIA, Architect, 1400 Fifth Avenue
  • Daniel Lobitz AIA Architect, Museum of African Art


  • Christine Haughney, Journalist, New York Times
  • Zevilla Jackson-Preston, Architect & Lifelong Harlem Resident
  • Wendell Waters, New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development



Fred Schwartz presenting the Kalahari


Barbara Wilks presenting the West Harlem Piers Park


Roberta Washington discusses her architectural practice in Harlem, the changes in the community and 1400 Fifth Avenue


Daniel Lobitz discusses the Museum of African Art


The panel discussion