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Van Alen Institute Reveals Shortlisted Entries in Competition to Redesign Its NYC Space

By Anna Fixsen
September 4, 2013
Image courtesy Van Alen Institute
Screen Play, a proposal by Collective-LOK—a team comprised of Jon Lott, William O’Brien Jr., and Michael Kubo—experiments with transparent partitions to create a variety of interior spaces and to expand the storefront into the street.

In time for its 120-year anniversary in 2014, the Van Alen Institute (VAI) is getting a facelift. Today, the New York City architecture and urbanism nonprofit revealed images of the three finalists in a competition to redesign its storefront.

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The winning proposal will replace the Institute's current LOT-EK-designed storefront on 22nd Street, which houses a combination bookstore and events area, with a larger space that utilizes more of the building's ground floor.

In June, VAI issued a call for portfolios from young design professionals no more than a decade out of school. A jury consisting of VAI board members, architects and designers, including Executive Director David van der Leer, Stephen Cassell, Winka Dubbeldam, and Mark Gardner, selected the top three submissions from more than 120 entries. The shortlisted teams were asked to develop a design for the space, taking into consideration cost, eco-friendliness, and the storefront's location, a historic district near Manhttan's Flatiron building. The retrofitted space will serve a threefold purpose: to accommodate exhibitions and events, offices, and bookselling.

“We’re calling on the most talented of today’s young designers to help us think critically and creatively about how Van Alen’s street-level space can shape and activate our public mission,” explained van der Leer in a statement.

Screen Play, a proposal by Collective-LOK—a team comprised of Jon Lott, William O’Brien Jr., and Michael Kubo—experiments with transparent partitions to create a variety of interior spaces and to expand the storefront into the street.

EFGH, a New York City-based studio founded by Hayley Eber and Frank Gesualdi, gives the interior a flexible organization with a series of mobile units, including a set of bleachers for events. The design also includes a porch-style swing.  

Of Possible Architectures, a team headed by Vincent Appel in Manhattan, took the idea of LOT-EK’s stair—a suspended seating area that doubles as a bookshelf—and translated it into a convertible, communal table that accommodates work, retail, and event uses.  

Click the slide show above to view the shortlisted entries. VAI will hold an online vote through September 10 to determine the winner.  Construction is expected to begin by the end of the year.

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