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Van Alen Institute Announces Winner of its Storefront Redesign

By Anna Fixsen
September 24, 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 (from left to right)—experiments with transparent partitions to create a variety of interior spaces and to expand the storefront into the street.

Van Alen Institute (VAI)—architecture nonprofit and bookstore in New York’s Flat Iron District—announced Monday the winner of a design competition for its new street-level space. The storefront’s current cascading, yellow stair will be replaced by new design by Collective-LOK, a design trio consisting of Jon Lott, William O’Brien Jr., and Michael Kubo.

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Developed over the course of six weeks, the winning design "Screen Play" explores the interactions of several different types of partitions. A mirrored exterior screen will extend VAI’s façade into the street and contain a mobile seating unit. The ceiling, in addition to holding light and sound equipment, will suspend translucent scrims to be lowered and divide the space as needed. The east interior wall of the building will consist of sliding, polycarbonate panels while a panoramic video screen will cover the west wall. Through the relationship of these screens, the design makes room for office, kitchen, dining, and exhibition space.

Collective-LOK beat out two other final design teams, EFGH and Of Possible Architectures. In addition to a jury consisting of VAI board members, architects, and designers, including Executive Director David van der Leer, Stephen Cassell, Winka Dubbeldam, and Mark Gardner, over one thousand 1,000 people participated in an online vote, putting Collective-LOK in the lead.

Now, the team has four months to further develop their design and prepare for construction, slated for this winter.

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