Caribbean Cultural Center Historic Fire Station Historical Restoration & Adaptive Re-use

  Caribbean Cultural Center Historic Fire Station Historical Restoration & Adaptive Re-use photo

Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute


Harlem, NY




Architectural Design

Mechanical Engineering

Electrical Engineering

Plumbing Engineering

Fire Protection Engineering

Design and Construction Services

The East 125th Street Firehouse was built in 1888-89 as the Fire Hook & Ladder Company No. 14. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons in the Romanesque Revival style. In 1975, it became the home of Fire Engine Co. No. 36. In May of 2003 it was decommissioned for budgetary reasons and has been vacant since then. The exterior of the building was designated landmark status in June 1997.

The exterior of the building was cleaned, repaired, and restored to its historic attributes. The large vehicular entrance was renovated with a functional door to invite visitors into the Cultural Center to experience the interactive exhibition and the aroma of fresh coffee from the Café. The design took full advantage of the five floors and basement to develop a variety of useful spaces including:

  • A multi-purpose room added in the rear of the building to take advantage of the small patio.
  • The basement was developed as a research area with a large computer room, internet stations, library and TV/Lounge area for enjoying televised documentaries and educational programs.
  • The 2nd floor is the Main Gallery where the atrium is bathed in natural light with a skylight and vented for natural ventilation. The floor has a large conference room and the Gallery program manager’s office.
  • The 3rd floor houses a Media Center with a soundproof recording room and a classroom studio.
  • The 4th floor is the administrative floor for the center.
  • The 5th floor is being developed as a rentable event area that will have a small indoor lounge and a roof terrace.

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