THE HARLEM STAGE
The West 135th Street Gatehouse occupies a steeply sloped site at the corner of West 135th Street and Convent Avenue. A New York City and National landmark, the massive brownstone and granite structure was built in 1890 as part of the historic Croton Aqueduct water system. It was the only gatehouse within the system whose waterworks were open to the public for viewing. Abandoned as a supply facility in 1989 because of a water main break, this architectural gem stood vacant for years until its complete gutting, renovation and adaptive reuse as performing arts space, reemerging in January 2007 as Harlem Stage.
EKLA PLLC's plaza design integrates the iconic structure, its “shepherd’s crook” vents, and new steps and ramps with the surrounding streetscape. Materials were selected for their richness and durability, with equal weight given to historical continuity, contextual appropriateness, modernity, resistance to de-icing chemicals and graffiti-deterrence. Finishes and colors clearly distinguish old from new in order to visually unify the site and make the Gatehouse precinct a recognizable cultural destination.
This project received a 2008 Lucy G. Moses Award for Preservation from the New York Landmarks Conservancy.