Storefront for Art and Architecture is a nonprofit organization committed to the advancement of innovative positions in architecture, art and design. The program of exhibitions, artists talks, film screenings, conferences and publications is intended to generate dialogue and collaboration across geographic, ideological and disciplinary boundaries. As a public forum for emerging voices, Storefront explores vital issues in art and architecture with the intent of increasing awareness of and interest in contemporary design.
In 1992, Steven Holl and artist Vito Acconci were commissioned as a collaborative team to renovate the aging facade of the Storefront for Art and Architecture. The Storefront for Art and Architecture is situated on the corner of a block that marks the intersection of three distinct neighborhoods: Chinatown, Little Italy and SOHO. The gallery itself is a limited, narrow wedge with a triangulated exhibition interior, such that the most dominant structure for the Storefront for Art and Architecture is the building's long facade.
Seeking to introduce improbability and to puncture the facade, Acconci and Holl challenged this symbolic border which underlines the exclusivity of the art world, where only those on the inside belong. Using a hybrid material comprised of concrete mixed with recycled fibers, Holl and Acconci inserted a series of hinged panels arranged in a puzzle-like configuration. When the panels are locked in their open position, the facade dissolves and the interior space of the gallery expands out on to the sidewalk. If the function of a facade is to create a division separating the inside from the outside space.