Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center - Weiss-Manfredi
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Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center


Edited By Weiss-Manfredi - 3 December 2012

Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi describe their design of the new visitor centre at New York’s botanical garden as follows: “Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an extraordinary oasis in the city and a living museum with a collection in constant flux. We envisioned the Visitor Center as a living interface that creates an invitation from the city into the Garden – a demonstration of the compelling reciprocity between architecture and landscape. Just as the Garden inspires wandering, we designed the center so that it is never seen in its entirety but is experienced cinematically as an unfolding place of discovery.”
Covering fifty-two acres and with a world-class collection of plants, the garden is visually separated from the city by trees and high embankments. It contains a wide variety of landscapes organized into separate areas, including the Japanese Garden, the Cherry Esplanade with over 200 cherry trees, the Osborne Garden, the Overlook and the Cranford Rose Garden.
The entrance to the centre is on Washington Avenue, along the embankment that separates the Brooklyn Museum parking lot from the Botanic Gardens. It is clearly visible from the street and acts as a legible point of access and orientation. The building, which covers 1,850 square meters (19,910 sq.ft.), comprises an orientation room, a shop dedicated to the world of plants, a café, an events space and an exhibition gallery. A wooden ramp provides access to a roof garden.
With its green roof, the architecture forms a natural extension of the site’s existing topography. Weiss / Manfredi have designed a double structure with a serpentine form wrapped in curving glass walls that extends along a hill. By forming a kind of garden path through its natural setting, it allows visitors to discover the different environments as they proceed.
The curved glass walls of the gallery mediate between the architecture and the landscape, while the fitted glass filters light, offering visitors veiled views of the garden. The steel-framed superstructure gives form to the undulating roof. The building uses earth mass and spectrally selective fritted glass to create a high-performance building envelope that minimizes heat gains and maximizes natural light. A heat exchange system with geothermal pumps is used to heat and cool the interior spaces. The green roof – a genuine ‘living’ roof with 40 thousand plants that change with the changing seasons – contributes to the building's insulation. A system for managing storm water and rainwater collection harvesting for irrigating a number of green terraces also contribute to energy saving and the building’s environmental sustainability.
The design has won the New York City Public Design Commission award for excellence in design, while LEED Gold certification is pending.

Location: New York, USA
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Gross Floor Area:
2.050 m2
Cost of Construction:
16.897.000 Euros
Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism
Design Team:
Michael A. Manfredi, FAIA and Marion Weiss, FAIA; Armando Petruccelli, RA; Hamilton Hadden, RA, Justin Kwok, LEED-AP, Michael Steiner, LEED-AP; Christopher Ballentine, Cheryl Baxter, Michael Blasberg, RA, Paúl Duston-Muñoz; Patrick Armacost, Jeremy Babel, Caroline Emerson, Eleonora Flammina, Kian Goh, Michael Harshman, Aaron Hollis, Hanul Kim, Hyoung-Gul Kook, Lee Lim, Jonathan Schwartz, Na Sun, Jie Tian, Yoonsun Yang
Construction Manager:
The Liro Group
Main Contractor:
E.W. Howell

Structural and Civil Engineering:
Weidlinger Associates Consulting Engineers
MEPFP/IT Engineering:
Jaros, Baum & Bolles
Geothermal/Geotechnical Engineering:
Langan Engineering and Environmental Services
HM White Site Architecture
Lighting Design:
Brandston Partnership
Cost Estimator: AMIS Environmental:
Viridian Energy & Environmental, LLC
Jeanne Giordano
Cerami & Associates
TM Technology Partners
Food Service:
Ricca Newmark Design
Curtain Wall:
R.A. Heintges Architects Consultants
Code & Life Safety:
Code Consultants
Traffic Consultant:
Sam Schwartz LLC

Architectural Exposed Steel: Canatal Industries
Architectural Concrete:
J.M.R Concrete Corp
Cement Stucco:
Quikrete, Dryvit, Sessa Plastering
Moisture Barrier And Waterproofing:
Henry, Carlisle
Geothermal System:
Green Roof Membrane and System:
Sika Sarnafil and Roofmeadow
Copper Standing Seam:
Firestone, Universal Services Group
Metal Coping:
W.P. Hickman
St. Gobain
Curved Glass:
Precision Glass Bending
Acoustical Ceilings:
Metal Doors:
Wood Doors:
Interior Glass Doors:
Exterior Lighting:
BK Lighting, Elliptipar
Interior Ambient Lighting:
LSI, Elliptipar, Gammalux
Reception Chairs:
Chair Factory Pedrali
Building Automation System:
Schneider Electric

Curtain Wall, Entrance Doors: Shüco USA
Exterior Lighting: Bega

Interior Ambient Lighting: Erco
Office Furniture, Task Lighting: Haworth
Café Tables and Chairs: M2L Arper

Photo by :
1/20 © Albert Ve?erka/Esto, 21 © Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism

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