Aggregating an Archive


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.


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.