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The Smile by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

Copenhagen-founded firm BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group designed The Smile, a stunning new residential project in Harlem, NYC

Image courtesy of © Blumenfeld Development Group

Copenhagen-founded firm BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group designed The Smile, a stunning new residential project in Harlem, NYC. Take a look at the complete story after the jump.

Image courtesy of © Blumenfeld Development Group

The architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves. The curved shape of the building’s façade gently curves inwards as it rises upwards, deviating from the hard, linear street edge while keeping the building form contained within the allowable zoning envelope. Now nearly complete, The Smile hugs 126th Street and resembles the welcoming grin of a smile. The curved gesture also provides the apartments and the street below with an abundance of direct sunlight. An interlocking checkerboard pattern dots the façade, making each home a bright pop of activity and life, while creating floor-to-ceiling windows in each unit for maximum views and natural light.

Image courtesy of © Vizerio Architectural Visualization

Located in Upper Manhattan in the heart of Harlem at East 126th Street and Lexington Avenue, The Smile overlooks Harlem’s historic “Main Street” and cultural capital, 125th Street and is moments from the subway and Metro-North stations. The 11-story building features 163 market-rate apartments and 70 affordable apartments set aside for low- and middle-income residents (with preference given to those already residing within Community Board 11).

Image courtesy of © Bloom Images

Inside, the lobby’s rainbow colors and Harlem-inspired murals lead to studio, one- and two-bedroom homes that play with industrial and minimalist design with modern comforts. Within the apartments, white monolithic floors and exposed concrete details create a unique backdrop for custom open kitchens with Italian stainless steel cabinetry. Every home features touchless Latch smart entry locks, a washer and dryer, oversized closets rare for NYC apartments and floor-to-ceiling windows that ensure each room feels full of sun and air.


The Smile provides residents with a robust amenity package including complete spa, fitness and work-from-home experience, that will adhere to all CDC guidelines and enhanced occupancy, maintenance and cleaning measures. The list includes The Smile Rooftop Club, with swimming pool, three whirlpools, grilling and dining areas and open-air movie theater all in a beautiful landscaped setting with panoramic views of the Harlem River and Manhattan skyline. The Smile Fitness Club, a state-of-the-art fitness center that includes yoga and personal training rooms. The Smile Spa, a facility on par with the city’s leading spas and featuring a Hamam, sauna and steam rooms, color-changing LED Himalayan salt room, cold room and private treatment rooms.

Image courtesy of © Vizerio Architectural Visualization
Image courtesy of © Vizerio Architectural Visualization

Developed by Blumenfeld Development Group (BDG), The Smile will continue the firm’s dedication to investing in the surrounding community. The company has been active builders in the neighborhood since 1994 – in fact, The Smile creatively cantilevers over Gotham Plaza, a mixed-use building on 125th Street completed by BDG in 2002. BDG is also a strong patron of the arts and philanthropic causes, and will be housing neighborhood non-profit and performing arts group MAMA Foundation for the Arts on site.

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