On Tuesday, the Van Alen Institute announced that they would be moving their home in Manhattan’s Flatiron District to a new, street-level space in Gowanus, Brooklyn, in Spring 2020. The ground lease of 303 Bond Street, a 3,500-square-foot space not only reflects the evolution of the design institute but also aligns with their broader mission as an organization. The announcement comes a year after the nonprofit sold its current storefront home at 30 West 22nd Street.
“For Van Alen, maintaining a street-level space is not just symbolic; it is absolutely critical to our work,” explained Deborah Marton, executive director of the institute, in a recent press release. “We must use design thinking to answer questions we hear most often from outside the profession–questions about displacement, responsible city growth, and impacts of climate change,” she added.
The Bond Street location will house the organization’s ongoing public programming as well as new workshops. With street-level access, the location reflects the commitment to foster conversations between communities by staying engaged with its surroundings and providing space for discussion on cities, design, and public health.
Marton elaborated that, “As we’ve learned in our Flatiron District space, street access gives us the single most important tool in answering these questions: a direct connection with the public. Our doors will be open to our Gowanus neighbors and we look forward to listening to them.”
“Van Alen’s new Gowanus space is an important mission-driven investment, and provides a sustainable home for our next 125 years,” said Jared Della Valle, Van Alen board chair and CEO of Alloy Development. “As we expand our work nationally, we look forward to learning from the ongoing conversations about climate change and equity in this neighborhood.”
With the success of a recent Miami project focused on the use of design and climate change, Van Alen hopes to continue expanding this work on local and national levels.