September 21, 2015

Center for Fiction selects BKSK for design of new Brooklyn home


The Center for Fiction has selected BKSK Architects to lead the design and interior buildout of their new headquarters at 280 Ashland Place, in the heart of the expanding Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District. The Center for Fiction’s new 17,000 square foot facility will offer three inviting floors of resource-rich space to literary professionals and enthusiasts alike. A partnership with Doyle Partners, whose expertise includes visual identities and environmental graphics, will reinforce BKSK’s design vision.

The relocation represents a major move both geographically and strategically for the Center for Fiction, which has been located in Manhattan since its founding as the Mercantile Library in 1820. The planned adjacency of BAM with Mark Morris Dance Group, 651 ARTS, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Theatre for a New Audience, BRIC, and UrbanGlass will make the growing Brooklyn neighborhood a more vibrant cultural center than ever before, with the Center being a natural fit among the district’s new neighbors. “Our programs for readers and writers of all levels are thriving,” shares the Center’s Executive Director Noreen Tomassi, “and we believe those programs will be more relevant than ever in our new BKSK-designed Brooklyn home.”

BKSK will play a key role in the Center’s evolution into a Brooklyn-based institution, using the new headquarters as a vehicle for nurturing literary appreciation both within the borough and beyond. The new facility will include a bookstore at the pedestrian level, auditorium space for booktalks and educational programming, expanded meeting areas, flexible workspaces for reading and writing, and administrative support space.

Design elements such as 19th century-inspired metalwork, warm natural materials, and lively environmental graphics will engender a welcoming and multi-purpose setting, supporting the Center’s status as a “third place” outside of the home and office. Sustainable best practices will also guide the design, which will meet or exceed LEED-CI Silver standards. Located within a new 11-story building that breaks ground this month, the new facility plans to open its doors in late 2017.

“The primary aim of the design is to enhance to goals of the Center itself,” says BKSK partner-in-charge Julie Nelson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, GRP. “We are creating a locally-rooted framework for timeless stories: those already written, those currently being put on paper, and others yet that are spontaneously occurring between New Yorkers and the world around them.”

For interviews or more information about this project, please email