The historic Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (BBG) unveiled two new structures by New York–based Architecture Research Office (ARO) today. The projects are a part of a renovation project led by Brooklyn-based Michael Van Valkenburgh Architects.The leading firm will also be establishing a Children's Discovery Garden. The 105-year-old gardens already contain several historic constructions, such as the arch by prominent American firm McKim, Mead, and White—responsible for designing major U.S. buildings such as Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of American History and the main campus of New York's Columbia University—at the south end entrance on Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard. To revitalize this specific area, ARO designed both an entrance building and archway adjacent to the cherished site.
“I’m a Brooklyn boy, through-and-through,” said Stephen Cassell, principal of ARO, in a press release published by the firm. “I grew up here and now live here with my family. The garden was an important part of my childhood and it’s a privilege to help restore it now.”
The new entrance building, located on the street corner at the south end of the 52-acre landscape, will be responsible for admitting approximately one-third of the 80,000 visitors the BBG hosts annually. Its elongated, parallelogram shape is framed by handcrafted brick, and capped by a skewed, triangular zinc roof. Garden attendants are available through the open, deep ribbon window on the corner of the building.
Sustainable features integrated into the building include a stormwater collection system, water-efficient sinks and toilets, and a glass that produces “visual noise” to alert birds of the partition so they do not fly into it.