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View from 80th street

Librería Barco De Papel

Queens, NY, USA
Librería Barco De Papel Comunitaria Y Centro Cultural 
2022- , Ongoing 
Bookstore, Non-profit Cultural Center
1,100 SF
Nahyun Hwang, David Eugin Moon, Helen Winter, Fernanda Carlovich
Silman, Ellana Construction Consultants, Outsource Consultants, 82nd Street Partnership, Van Alen Institute, Urban Design Forum   
2023 AIANY Design Award

Nonprofit bookstore and cultural center, Barco de Papel, currently in a former garage, is the only Spanish-language book shop surviving in NYC and a small but critical meeting places for artists, poets, and writers, as well as many immigrant and diaspora residents for nearly 20 years. Located on the border of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, Queens, two of New York City’s most diverse communities, Barco is also just a few steps from Roosevelt Avenue, a vibrant strip serving New York’s immigrant communities. The project renovates its aging structure while establishing a new transformable public interface that can better communicate its presence and facilitate the diverse programming of the cultural center that often engages the street.

Barco currently hosts numerous poetry and book readings, literary discussions, book launches, theater productions, live music events, as well as storytelling and art workshops for children in and around its small footprint

Barco de Papel in context 

1. New fold-up windows
2. Indoor mobile book table units
3. Outdoor mobile book table units
4. Standing mobile book units
5. Mobile seats
6. Removable canopy
7. New ADA ramp
8. NYC DOT Open Street seating area (temporary)
9. Washroom (existing)
10. Storage and workroom

Barco de Papel is a small but important institution and its programming plays a significant role in the Spanish-speaking community. Addressing the institution’s desire for the expandable space for its growing programming needs, and instigating a more open relationship with the everyday street lives of the neighborhood, the project explores various ways to fold out and open up Barco de Papel.

Concept diagram- Barco’s book walls opening to the street

Layout variations with new open facade and re-configurable furniture

The formerly impervious book-wall becomes flexible and re-configurable bookcase-tables, allowing for a permeable façade that engages the street as a significant part of its institutional space, while suggesting new ways to connect the book material and the users, and accommodate various programming needs. 

New operable furniture include the mobile horizontal book case / table that allows for a permeable facade and longer term engagement with the book material and facilitate conversations and workshops. The project also utilizes various street related initiatives implemented through the pandemic.

Different configurations for programming engaging street

Section of the renovated structure with open facade configuration

Working closely with the founders of the non-profit, the project supports the renovation of its aging structure and helps establish a new transformable public interface that can better communicate its presence and facilitate the diverse programming.

Barco de Papel in the evening in its open configuration
529 West 20th Street, 6W, New York, NY 10011 /
/ 646.480.0434
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