Melbourne Alexander Garber, a native Sierra Leonean, and an obscure structural engineer, currently based in the big apple, with over 30 years of experience, entwined in many award-winning enterprises ranging from housing projects to historic museums and celebratory memorials. London holds the beginning of his career starting from the University of Leeds, reigned him over to Arup Group, later on to Silman, and now Mel Garber is the director of Gedeon GRC consulting. His projects also show him to be a staunch supporter of the good causes earning his addresses at the NOMA.
Below is the list of 15 Projects by Mel Garber:
1. African Burial Ground National Monument
The monument located in the lower Manhattan of New York City commemorates the African Burial ground district. The 17th and 18th centuries saw the burial of over 15,000 African men, women, and children. The monument reflects the struggles of the African forcibly brought to the metropolis United States. Today it serves a solace to people of color and also a strong reminder of their past and of the long distance that we have come from slavery in the colonies.
2. The British Library
An African in Imperial London, a book on the life of Merriman Labor, who was incidentally Mel Garber’s great uncle. This very library held the book’s release. It is the national library of the United Kingdom and by far the largest in the number of categories cataloged. An edifice exhibiting modernist features of Architecture with a strong sense of Scandinavian designs and the architect’s early days at the Navy also seems to have influenced the building.
3. JFK Terminal 4
An international Airdome opened in 2013, currently serving as the major gateway for international arrivals at the John F. Kennedy Airport also serves as an international hub for the Delta airlines for its long haul flights. The structure is seen with its customary levels of Arrivals, Departure, and Concourse along with its manifold of lounges. It also happens to be the first terminal with an air-train station.
4. Harlem School of Arts, New York
A conservatoire in Harlem, Manhattan with an ideology that began with the founder that art stimulates the well being of the child, strengthens the family and gives pride of ownership to the community. The building once a brutalist structure is to undergo severe revamping and will become a modernist icon for the city, gone will be the brick facade in its stead adorning glass. The ongoing Renaissance project announced in 2019 had a budget of 9.5 million dollars.
5. Skylands Manor
A romantic and glamorous wedding location at Ringwood, New Jersey announced a roof and trim repair project required to replace the rubber roofing system and repair the exterior trim on the manor with a budget of over half a million dollars. The Skylands Manor regained its former glory and original splendor in 2018. The site is over a hundred acres with Botanical gardens to explore and is now open to the fairytale-like weddings and other ceremonies.
6. Bunce Island Slave Castle
Bunce Island is a slave castle located in Freetown in Sierra Leone, also where Mel Garber spent his childhood days. It holds the record as the most important historic site in Africa for the United States. The island initially fortified by the English slave traders and the castle was an operational unit to three such companies in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, it was central to the British transatlantic slave trade. Mel Garber worked alongside in the preservation and stabilization project that came years later. The castle today remains as a memento of the abolished slavery of the West-Africans.
7. Frank Sinatra School of Arts
It is a performing Arts High school in Queens, New York. Frank Sinatra is also known as the Steel Institute of New York, largely due to the material used for construction. The glass facade, perimeter frame of daylit classrooms, and state of the art studios all welcome the community into the art center with a vibrant atmosphere. The buildings also include a green rooftop that opens to the student cafeteria.
8. Stroudsburg and Sourland African American Museum
The museum was the fruit of the decades’ worth research for a community engaged in a broader understanding of American history. Constructed and opened in 2014, tries to convey the folklore of the unique culture, experiences, and contributions of the African-American community to the Sourland Mountain region. The structure also serves as an official burial place for the war veteran Private William Stives.
9. The Ark of Return, United Nations
The memoir commissioned for the remembrance of the horrific tragedies of modern history, the transatlantic slave trade. It also remains as a memoir to fight against racism and prejudice. The triangular pattern that was noticed in the structure is iconic of the triangular trade route of the slave trade, which existed between countries.
10. Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art
One of the largest contemporary art venues located downtown Chicago. The effective use of space and light came to be known as the ‘interplay between transparency and containment’, as said by the Architect Kleihues, who was inspired by Chicago’s architecture and hence settled for a pragmatic and functional structure.
11. The redevelopment of Holborn Bars
Also Known as the Prudential Assistance building is a Monumental red terracotta Victorian Building in London. Now containing a partly redeveloped office, the project restarted in the late 1900s, to redevelop the building without destroying the outward facade as it had become a symbol of the company and was required to be modernized.
12. New Jersey Performing Arts Centre
A building serving as a memento of the aftermath of the civil rights protest in the city of Newark against the state of New Jersey and the private developers of the state. A common vocabulary of patterned brick, glass, and steel unifies the building with state of the art facilities for performing arts.
13. The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center
The building consists of 5 distinct elements: the bar building, the museum, a gathering space, the tower, and the central utility plant. The museum showcases the Native American history of Mashantucket, Connecticut operated by the tribal community of the Pequot.
14. Via Verde South Bronx
An affordable and sustainable residential complex with three distinct blocks one of 20 floors, a 6 to 13 mid-rise duplexes, and a 2 to 14 story townhouse.
A dynamic garden influences the outlook of the building, spiraling upwards creating a promenade for the viewers. The building is LEED NC Gold certified.
15. Kosciuszko Bridge
Construction started in 2013 and completed into 2019, the bridges connect Green point, Brooklyn to Maspeth, Queens overlaying the Newtown Creek. It also contains a pair of cable-stayed bridge spans.