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BIG designs new mixed-use development in Harlem

The project, dubbed The Smile, has recently completed construction.

December 28, 2020 |
The Smile aerial

Photos courtesy BIG

At approximately 280,000-sf, The Smile, a new mixed-use development design by Bjarke Ingles Group, bridges Harlem’s active 125th Street corridor and the quieter 126th Street.

The project will combine a nursing school on the street level with residential apartment units above. One-third of the apartments will be affordable units. The project’s T-shaped footprint will offer a diverse set of unit sizes and layouts while also strengthening the connection with neighboring buildings. The southern cantilevered portion of the building will appear to hover over the existing commercial building on 125h Street, creating a dynamic component in the evolving uptown streetscape.


The Smile residential unit


Interior spaces comprise raw architectural materials such as wood, exposed concrete, and exposed steel trusses. Entrances are tiled with splashes of colored concrete that draws inspiration from the neighborhood’s murals.

Building amenities include a fitness center, a media room, relaxation spas, social lounges, and workspaces that overlook a three-story gallery. Located on the roof will be whirlpool spas, a swimming pool, and roof decks surrounded by landscaped features that provide space for social activities and gatherings.


The Smile fitness center


The building’s facade gently slopes inwards as it rises, softening the hard linear street edge. This design allows the building massing to comply with the city’s zoning envelope while also enabling the residential street to have more direct sunlight. The interlocking checkerboard facade panel system allows for floor-to-ceiling windows in each residential unit.


The Smile lobby


The Smile rooftop amenities


The Smile facade

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