Ray Harlem and National Black Theatre

National Black Theatre's new home will ensure that the institution continues to serve as a vital resource for artists and entrepreneurs.

Handel Architects is designing a new mixed-use project for Ray and LMXD, which will serve as a new home for National Black Theatre (NBT), the longest-running Black theater in New York City. The project will include a multi-floor theater for NBT, dynamic retail, as well as 222 units of mixed-income apartments above. The new building will ensure that the institution, a vital community resource, will be able to serve future generations. Founded in 1968 by visionary Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, NBT presented productions by, and about, Black Americans at a time when they were ignored by mainstream institutions. Frida Escobedo Architects is collaborating on the design.

The project integrates West African mythology, ritual, and symbolism into the design. The pink-red brick references the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove in Nigeria, honoring the original artisans behind the NBT space. A "Living Room" at the ground floor corner of 126th and 5th Avenue will be open to the public and serve as a community gathering space.

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Design Architect Architect of Record

Project Team

Alex Kim, Ashley Murphy, Behzad Gharehjanloo, Ben Novacinski, Charith Kombarana, Deborah Moelis, Emil Stojakovic, Enmanuel Espinal, Eugene Kao, Gary Handel, Jason Jung, Katerie Bourisquot, Mikhail Kim, Nathan Mollway, Noah Rosenberg, Tina Kothari, Wenjing Zhang, Ziqing Nie

Design Partner(s)

Collaborating Architect - ​Frida Escobedo Architects Interior Designer - Little Wing Lee