Van Alen Institute today announced the selection of Collective–LOK as the winner of Ground/Work: A Design Competition for Van Alen Institute’s New Street-Level Space.

Van Alen Institute Announces Ground/Work Competition Winner
Collective–LOK Selected to Design New Venue for Architecture and Urbanism Nonprofit

Screen Play: Office scenario

NEW YORK, September 23, 2013—Van Alen Institute today announced the selection of Collective–LOK as the winner of Ground/Work: A Design Competition for Van Alen Institute’s New Street-Level Space.

The winning team, a collaboration of Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under), was selected from a group of three finalists invited by the Ground/Work jury to develop full design proposals over a six-week period. Collective–LOK’s proposal, titled Screen Play, presents a highly flexible space utilizing a subtle interplay of surfaces and screens to allow for the diverse range of uses demanded by the activities of the Institute, from multimedia exhibitions and lectures to workshops and private meetings.

The two other Ground/Work finalists were EFGH (Hayley Eber, Frank Gesualdi, Spencer Lapp, Pat Ruggiero, and Ani Ivanova), and Of Possible Architectures (Vincent Appel, Ethan Lay-Sleeper, Jaime Magaliff, Paul Miller, Heather Murtagh, Franklin Romero Jr., and Emily Ruopp, in collaboration with Jay Atherton).

Following the competition’s launch in May, over 120 teams submitted entries representing designers in more than 20 countries. The three finalists revealed their visions for the space in early September, and the Institute partnered with Architizer to invite the public to weigh in through an online vote. Over a thousand people shared their pick for the winner, with Collective–LOK prevailing as the public choice. The full competition jury convened in mid-September to determine the competition winner, and the selected team now has four months to complete design work and develop construction documents for an expected groundbreaking in winter 2013.

Screen Play: Axonometric view

“Collective–LOK’s proposal offers a vision that is both sophisticated and sensitive to the needs of Van Alen as an evolving cultural organization,” said David van der Leer, Executive Director of Van Alen Institute. “As we refocus the Institute on research and programs that also explore cities, we are fortunate to collaborate with this inspiring design team.”

The members of Collective–LOK said in a statement, “We’re thrilled to participate in building a new institutional home for Van Alen. The opportunity to shape one of the major cultural spaces for architecture and design in New York City is unique, and one that we look forward to given our shared background as architects, curators, critics, and educators. The competition process was a strong reflection of the Institute’s desire to create public dialogue on the role of architecture and design in the city, and we are proud to provide a setting that will support and enable that mission."

Stephen Cassell, Chair of Van Alen Institute’s Board of Trustees, said, “The competition jury was impressed by the depth of all three proposals from the finalists, and we have already benefited from their fresh approaches, thoughtful design strategies, and practical insights. We all look forward to working with Collective–LOK on the Institute’s future home.”

In addition to the public vote, the finalists’ proposals were evaluated by the competition jury composed of Stephen Cassell (Architecture Research Office, and Board of Trustees, Van Alen Institute), Winka Dubbeldam (Archi-tectonics, and University of Pennsylvania), Mark Gardner (Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects), Mark Robbins (International Center of Photography, and Board of Trustees, Van Alen Institute), Ada Tolla (LOT-EK), Marc Tsurumaki (LTL Architects), David van der Leer (Van Alen Institute), with the addition of Marc Kushner (Hollwich Kushner, and Architizer).

Download the Ground/Work press kit for images and additional information.
To follow the process from design to completion, visit the Ground/Work website at

Ground/Work is produced by Van Alen in collaboration with Kind Aesthetic, a New York–based arts consultancy.

Media Contact
Zach Postone
Communications Coordinator
Van Alen Institute
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About Van Alen Institute
Van Alen Institute is an independent nonprofit architectural organization whose mission is to promote innovative thinking about the role of architecture and design in civic life. Since its founding in 1894, Van Alen has informed debate and advanced design through competitions, fellowships, publications, and forums that connect designers, urban thinkers, civic leaders, and the broader public. Find out more at

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