Outerbridge Horsey Associates, PLLC

Chapters Bookstore

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Project Description

Chapters, a full-service independent bookstore, offer a wide selection of books on many subjects with specialties in fiction, poetry, literary biography and literary criticism. In addition, an evening author lecture series brings authors and readers together in the informal setting of the Reading Room. At the end of the business day the staff transforms the retail space of the Reading Room by moving aside custom movable bookcases and setting out chairs in front of the lectern platform.

An important criterion in the layout of the store was the need to retain continuity with the design vocabulary of the original Eye Street store, where the same architect was employed. The understated design vocabulary has proven important to the character and identity of the store, as it has evolved over five years.

The scope of work involved fitting out a “cold, dark shell” (2900 sq ft) with a modest budget of approximately $14/sq ft. covering the extra-schedule expenditures including incandescent lighting and related switching, platform and step construction, carpet, new casework (in addition to existing pieces), paint, the computer/telephone network wiring, and the PA/audio equipment installation.

It was important to architecturally differentiate the two principal spaces – the tall, long and narrow Front Room, and the spacious and extensively day lit Reading Room it leads to. The ordering of the literature into subject headings has been defined through the use of new and existing level changes, and the layout of the book-shelving units. Special attention was given to the design of integral casework signage as well as branding elements such as the store window and awning signage.

Washington, DC

Outerbridge Horsey Associates