Founded by Dr. Marta Moreno Vega in 1976, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) provides a vibrant home for global afro-descendent culture, reinvigorating the Historic East Harlem Corridor. CCCADI celebrates the peoples of the Caribbean and the African Diaspora integrating the arts, education, activism and conscious cultural tourism to foster social transformation and to prepare and unite the next generation of cultural leaders and Diaspora communities.
In its support of the engagement, CCCADI retained CSA Group, for the Architectural design, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection Engineering Design and Construction Support 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 adaptive reuse plan for the East 125th Street Firehouse has given us a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the restoration of this architectural gem. The exterior of the building was cleaned, repaired, and restored to its historic attributes. The intention was to keep the exterior of the building aesthetically intact.
All five floors were carefully designed to provide beautiful and functional areas to make the Cultural Center come to life as a one of a kind experience for visitors. The large vehicular entrance was repaired with a functional door designed to engage the buildings original historical character. A multi-purpose room was added in the rear, this allowed us to take advantage of the small patio (rear yard). The basement was set as a research area with a large computer room, Internet stations and library.
The second floor is the Main Gallery filled with natural light coming from a large atrium that is covered by a skylight and operable vent as to provide natural ventilation. Also, in this floor are a large conference room and the Gallery Program Manager’s Office. The third floor houses a Media Center with a soundproof recording room and a classroom studio. The fourth is the administrative floor for the center and fifth floor is designed as a rentable event area with a small indoor lounge and a roof terrace.