Completed in 1903, Harlem’s former PS 186 is a paradigm of 20th Century Architecture. The building was used as a school until the 1970s, and sat empty for decades. Purchased by the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem (BGCH) the building has restored after 40 years of neglect and converted to a new home for the Boys & Girls Club and affordable housing.
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 interior concepts highlight historic features of the original building and weaving 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 result of Dattner Architects’ thoughtful restoration and adaptive-reuse of the Italian Renaissance Revival building, it has been approved by the National Parks Service for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.