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10 December 2019

Van Alen Institute to Move to New Brooklyn Home

The design institute will relocate to new, street-level space in Gowanus in Spring 2020

(December 10, 2019—New York, NY)—Van Alen Institute today announced the ground lease of 303 Bond Street, a 3500-square-foot ground floor space in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood. Starting in Spring 2020, 303 Bond will house new workspaces and a home for the organization’s ongoing public programming. The move reflects the evolution of the organization and is a mission-driven investment in its long-term future.

With direct street access, 303 Bond reflects Van Alen’s commitment to fostering ongoing dialogue with the overlapping communities it serves. By keeping a street-level presence, Van Alen’s new home reflects the organization’s key values of ensuring public space in New York City, staying engaged with its surroundings, and providing a meeting place for discussions around cities and design.

“Since our founding 125 years ago, Van Alen has been providing exemplary education within the design fields and creating opportunities to rethink how cities work,” said Deborah Marton, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute. “With this move to another storefront space, we’re committed to turning outward—literally—to encourage the kind of work across municipalities, professionals and communities that can bring about meaningful change.”

Van Alen pioneered this design-driven, multi-stakeholder approach with notable success in a recent Miami project that focused on the use of design to mitigate the impact of climate change. Van Alen will continue expanding this work locally and nationally.

“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, Alloy Development. “As we expand our work nationally, we look forward to learning from the ongoing conversations about climate and equity in this neighborhood.”

“For Van Alen, maintaining a street-level space is not just symbolic; it is absolutely critical to our work,” added Deborah Marton. “We must use design thinking to answer questions we hear most often from outside the profession – questions about displacement, responsible city growth, and the impacts of climate change. 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 is currently located on the ground floor of 30 West 22nd Street in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. With the support of its Board, the organization sold this building in November 2018 to strengthen its endowment and expand its mission-driven work.

About Van Alen Institute

Van Alen Institute believes in the power of design to transform cities, landscapes, and regions, and to improve people’s lives. Van Alen collaborates with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. Building on more than a century of experience, Van Alen works to develop cross disciplinary research, provocative public programs and inventive design competitions.

With a core belief in an interdisciplinary approach to design, the Van Alen team has backgrounds in urban planning, public health, civic advocacy, community engagement, and arts and culture.

In New York, Van Alen’s public space projects have been fueled by a commitment to civic engagement. With Public Property: An Ideas Competition for Governors Island (1996), Van Alen instigated a citywide discussion about this former military base, a precursor to the vibrant Governors Island of today. TKTS2K: A Competition to Design a New York Icon (1999) challenged designers to reconceive Times Square for pedestrians, resulting in the plaza’s iconic red steps by John Choi and Tai Ropiha.

Van Alen now catalyzes change nationally with initiatives like Keeping Current: A Sea Level Rise Challenge for Greater Miami (2019). In collaboration with city leaders, designers, and communities, Van Alen is creating visionary and implementable design solutions to rising sea levels. A pilot project—a public park that also retains storm water—is currently under construction in North Miami.

See all work at vanalen.org.

For more information:

Rachel Judlowe, Kubany Judlowe