A co-op membership that enjoyed the labyrinthine character of a 50-year-old basement bookstore was slow to embrace the idea of relocation —especially to an above-ground space flooded with natural light. The desire to maintain the feeling of “getting lost in books,” led to the creation of three strategies designed to repurpose on a tight budget the 10,000-square-foot ground floor of a ‘1960s-era dormitory.
The character of the bookstore becomes visible from the street through a new extended floor-to-ceiling glass window-wall. An ADA accessible ramp circumambulates a gingko tree. A fireplace embedded within a glass-clad bookcase welcomes visitors in the lobby, while book-like colorful carpet tiles cover gaps in the terrazzo floor. A generous space for book-signings overlooks the street, while smaller gathering spaces are tucked into corners. Ultimately, a café overlooking Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House will complete the composition.