Client: Van Alen Institute, New York
Type: Retail, Cultural
Location: Flatiron District, New York
Size: 600 SF
Design: 2011
Structure: Silman 
Photography: Danny Bright

VAN ALEN BOOKS is an architecture and design bookstore and a public reading room at the ground level of the organization’s headquarters in Manhattan. Van Alen Books is motivated by an urgent need for spaces where architecture books can be discovered. Inviting the public to linger and browse, the store features a 14-foot-tall seating platform crafted from a stack of 70 recycled doors, which ascend to create an amphitheater overlooking 22nd Street through glazed storefront windows. Sourced from Build It Green! NYC, a nonprofit supplier of salvaged building materials, the solid wood doors form a triangular installation evoking the steps of Times Square’s TKTS booth, an iconic project originated through Van Alen's 1999 design competition. This highly visible storefront space is New York City’s only book emporium and gathering place devoted singularly to architecture and design publications and serves as an open platform to discuss the future of the architecture book.

To see a video showing details of this project, please visit the Great Spaces TV page on