Brooklyn Botanic Garden Opens New Award-Winning Visitor Center
The new 20,000-square-foot Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center sports a 10,000-square-foot green roof atop the building's glass fa?ade. The building's north side is tucked into an existing berm. Photos: Albert Vecerka / Esto.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was among the prominent officials on hand May 16, 2012 to officially open the new visitor center at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG). The center's design, by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi of the New York–based firm Weiss/Manfredi, garnered a 2008 award for ''Excellence in Design'' from the New York City Public Design Commission.
The sinuous glass structure, a synthesis of architecture and landscape design, abuts an existing berm on the property's northeast corner. It's a compelling entry into the 52-acre garden. The building offers a 10,000-square-foot leaf-shaped green roof of over 40,000 plants—grasses, spring bulbs and perennial wildflowers.
''Thanks to an extraordinary public-private partnership and an innovative design, this new Visitor Center will provide a welcoming place for people from across the street and around the globe to learn about sustainability and the garden's remarkable collections,'' said Mayor Bloomberg.
In response to increased attendance at the garden, and the evident growing interest in urban horticulture and sustainability in the Brooklyn area, BBG is creating a suite of new and enhanced gardens: an Herb Garden, a Woodland Garden, an expanded Native Flora Garden, a Water Garden, a water conservation project and a Children's Discovery Garden designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. There will also be an expanded and redesigned public entrance at Flatbush Avenue by Architecture Research Office.
The new 20,000-square-foot Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center sports a 10,000-square-foot green roof atop the buildin''s glass fa?ade. The building's north side is tucked into an existing berm.. Collage: Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The building's curved glass trellis is the entrance and offers views into the garden. The cleres
tory glazing of the glass and the fritted glass on the south walls minimize heat gain and maximize natural daylight inside.
The building's green roof will change throughout the year. The roof on the Washington Avenue side of the building is pleated copper roof that echoes the garden's landmark 1917 McKim, Mead & White Administration Building and will ultimately weather to green.
A series of rain gardens collect and filter runoff to improve stormwater management. Nearly 60,000 plants were installed around the Visitor Center, including cherry, magnolia and tupelo trees, viburnums, native roses and three rain gardens full of water-loving plants. The green roof plantings will change throughout the year.