September 23, 2020

COVID Reopening Plan: A Post-Occupancy (RE) Evaluation

In assisting our client, The Center for Fiction, in creating a re-opening plan, BKSK was given the opportunity to revisit our design – from the architecture to the furniture selections, to assess its flexibility, adaptability and ability to serve an Institution’s mission within a changing context.

We knew the project was designed with the ability for spaces to transform.  A hydraulic stage that could be raised to performance height or lowered and “put away”.   The café service bar designed at table height so that it could become display, a point of gathering or serve as a second point of reception.   The custom café tables, inspired by a sculptors stand, that can be spun up to standing height or lowered to desk height.

Our reopening plan was designed to be simple so that it could be implemented by the Center’s staff without the need for construction or permanent alterations to the space.  The Café was transformed into an extension of the Bookstore, re-purposing furniture from unused rooms on the second floor.  The Café service bar became a place for book display and a second point of sale to allow staff to remain physically distant.   Stacks which held the Center’s collection and were the backbone of the design, could be repurposed for bookstore display, while keeping the dramatic atmosphere that characterized the space.  The Auditorium, located on the first floor, was repurposed as a second Writer’s Studio, taking advantage of the large space and enhanced ventilation system to deliver fresh air.  With the stage stored, the room would feel like the reading room of a great library, with readers and writers engaging with stories, which it still is -even in unusual times.