The very existence of Van Alen Books makes a powerful argument about the role of the book in our professional culture. The consensus opinion regarding architectural publishing seems to be that the era of the architectural “tome” is over. But the argument that we don’t “need” bookstores anymore, since we buy books less, ignores the implicit social currency that these spaces deal in. Opening Van Alen Books could be seen as as huge risk, but on the other hand, the store addresses the dearth of public meeting and forum spaces in the city.
A look at the LOT-EK designed space proves that subtextual point: where are the books? Does it matter?