Architecture vs. Housing: The Case of Sugar Hill

Urban Omnibus | September 3, 2014 | by Susanne Schindler


Artwork by Alex Guerrero. Photo by Whitney Brown

Artwork by Alex Guerrero. Photo by Whitney Brown

Sugar Hill is a new residential building that makes a striking addition to the highest and most visible point of the neighborhood of the same name. The critically acclaimed London-, New York-, and Accra-based firm Adjaye Associates, led by architect David Adjaye, designed the building. Broadway Housing Communities (BHC), led by Ellen Baxter, a non-profit pioneer of supportive housing, developed it. It is BHC’s seventh development offering permanent housing for special-needs or low income populations, but its first ground-up construction. Located along 155th Street, an important east-west connection between Harlem and the Bronx across a tangle of iron bridges, the dark, almost gloomy 13-story building sits between 19th-century brownstones to the west, an industrial mix to the east, and the topographically undulating green expanses to the north, punctuated by the towers of the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) Polo Grounds public housing complex.

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