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.
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.