Untapped went to check out the launch party of Van Alen Books, a new bookstore, reading room and gathering space with an incredible collection of rare books devoted to architecture. When it officially opens on Monday, it will be the only architecture/design-only store in New York City. But the emphasis is really on the public space aspect, as the majority of the shop is used as a forum for discourse, reading and multi-disciplinary performances.

The space was designed by the architectural firm  LOT-EK and features a 14-foot-tall staircase crafted from a stack of  70 recycled doors, which step up to create an amphitheater overlooking 22nd Street through large storefront  windows. Sourced from Build It Green! NYC, a nonprofit supplier of salvaged building materials, the solid wood  doors form a triangular platform.  The store is curated by Christina Goberna of  Fake Industries. When the shop officially opens on Monday, the books will be displayed on the walls, replacing the boxes you see in the photos.

Rendering via Van Alen Institute:

UPDATE: A sample selection from opening day:

Van Alen Books officially opens this Monday so get there early for the best selection, but you’ll have to battle it out with architecture buffs.

30 West 22nd Street, Ground Floor

Van Alen Books is an initiative of the Van Alen Institute, an independent nonprofit architectural organization that promotes inquiry into the processes that shape the design of the public realm.