The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center is located within the berm that separates the Brooklyn Museum parking lot from the botanic garden. The Garden contains a variety of landscapes organized into discrete settings; the Visitor Center serves as legible point of arrival and orientation, and it defines a new threshold between the city and the landscapes of the 52-acre garden.
The Visitor Center has an architectural presence at Washington Avenue yet transitions into a structured landscape as it moves into the botanic garden. Nestled into the berm on the north side and topped with an undulating green roof, the building blends gracefully into the landscape. On the south side, too, the design mediates the relationship between “culture” and “cultivation” through veiled views into the Garden from the exhibition gallery. The gallery’s curved glass surfaces are spectrally selective and fritted to minimize heat gain and maximize natural illumination. In addition to the gallery, the Center’s program includes an information lobby, orientation room, restrooms, gift shop, café, catering and kitchen, and an event space.
Beyond the native grasses planted on the green roof and the drought-resistant species that populate the landscape, the Center integrates other sustainable elements (a geothermal exchange and a rain garden, for example) to further its educational mission and environmental goals. Materials were purchased locally, and quite appropriately a century-old Ginko tree was successfully transplanted on-site, while other trees in conflict were harvested, milled, and integrated into interior finishes.
Listen to an audio clip about the Center https://soundcloud.com/aianational/brooklyn-botanical-garden.
Facts & Credits:
Owner: Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Text by The American Institute of Architects.