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Body Lawson tapped to design new Harlem development

Body Lawson Associates Architects and Planners has announced its selection as architect and designer for an innovative new affordable housing complex in Manhattan’s West Harlem for low- and moderate-income families.

Among Body Lawson Associates’ latest major building projects, the multifamily complex dubbed Marcus Garvey Village comprises a 19-story development with 169 units of affordable housing in a dedicated new building not far from the firm’s headquarters.

Body Lawson Associates (BLA) serves as design architect and architect of record for the work, in partnership with production services by Fischer + Makooi Architects. The developers are Carthage Advisors and Rester Management along with West Harlem Development Corporation.

Named for the Pan-African exponent and political activist, Marcus Garvey Village will offer low- and moderate-income residences, including studios and one- and two-bedroom units, along with a 3,000-square-foot community facility and 3,500 square feet of retail space.

The approximately 145,000-square-foot complex will rise at 212 West 124th Street, between 7th and 8th avenues, according to Victor Body-Lawson, AIA, the Nigeria-born architect whose wide-ranging practice is behind such notable works as Home Street Residences, Erbograph Apartments, and La Pensinsula (with WXY architecture + urban design), all in New York City.


“We are honored and very happy to closely engage with the West Harlem community in a collaborative effort to better serve their affordable housing needs in this vibrant and increasingly desirable neighborhood,” says Body-Lawson, an architect, artist and educator with over 30 years in professional practice.

“As with all our affordable housing designs, we are using efficient and economical construction approaches to craft an uplifting, sustainable and resilient cornerstone for this urban community.”

An image of Marcus Garvey Village, which is responsive to both new and historic urban context in West Harlem, was selected to promote a recent panel discussion hosted by Pratt Institute and AIA Brooklyn called “Affordable Housing’s Response to the Pandemic.”

As the event organizers said, “While the Covid-19 pandemic’s health concerns are the world’s main priority, we cannot ignore the economic disaster trailing in its wake. The lack of affordable housing was already an entrenched problem prior to the pandemic and will be exacerbated by the unprecedented levels of unemployment and loss of income being experienced.”

Demand for homes in Marcus Garvey Village is expected to be high. As with all of Body Lawson Associates buildings, Marcus Garey Village is designed to cultivate a strong identity that fosters social, economic, cultural and spiritual growth in its community.

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