The Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force is a group of concerned citizens who have united to help the Elmendorf Reformed Church to restore and memorialize its historically and culturally significant colonial African burial ground at 1st Avenue, between 126th and 127th Streets in East Harlem, New York City.

RE-IMAGINING HARLEM VILLAGE:

Aggregating an Archive

CCNY STUDENTS

This proposal highlights several interconnected concepts: extension and reconnection of the site to the Harlem River with the submersion of the Harlem River Drive and removal of 127th Street; development of individual building clusters surrounding a community commons and multi-purpose amphitheater. Each residential unit has its own balcony and is designed for artists who will use augmented technology to provide an ever evolving account of their activities; creating an onsite archival record.  The burial ground is preserved and honored at the heart of village by exposing ground layers of earth to attract inhabitants and visitors alike.

Suzanne Borderies

 

Amhara Hernandez

 

Kevin Starsfield

Aerial perspective of the project’s massing looking north.

STUDENT PROJECTS

For over a decade, the Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force has been studying this sacred, historic site in detail, oftentimes in collaboration with elected officials, city and state agencies, community activists and professionals from a wide variety of fields – history, archaeology, religious ministries, architecture, and urban planning.  The goal is simple: to deeply understand the spiritual, historical, cultural, social and economic significance of this site and integrate this knowledge into a thoughtful redevelopment agenda.  

 

The Task Force has also collaborated with architecture and urban planning professors and their students in academic programs from Hunter College (2011) and City College (2019) to demonstrate the variety of physical options available for redeveloping this sacred and historic site. Though not endorsing any of these particular ideas, the Task Force shares them here, and looks forward to continued collaboration with all stakeholders as this important site moves through a city-led redevelopment process.