Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center

Although the roof plane of the visitor center is composed of two different materials to distinguish the pavilions on the urban and garden edges of the site, the surfaces are united by a theme: “We have two green roofs,” Marion Weiss says. “One is copper [which will oxidize] … and the other is planted.”

Washington Avenue façade, which the architects call the only overtly architectural face.

On the ground plane, visitors move through the building via a shaded breezeway that moves past ticketing and creates a choreographed entry sequence into the gardens.

Sketch of the breezeway

Breezeway with the gift shop volume on the left, and ticketing window on the right.

The southern face of the building has a sinuous curve, dsigned in part to reflect the shape of the garden's rare green-flowering cherry tree.

The building culminates at the western edge in a leaf-shaped event space partially embedded into the berm beyond. An exterior stair wraps this space and gives visitors access to the roof terrace.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center's undulating planted roof makes it blend seemlessly with the landscape.

The planted green roof on the western pavilion not only serves as a laboratory for BBG’s horticulturists, but also allows the building to merge with the surrounding landscape—so much so that from certain angles, the roof is virtually indistinguishable from the natural ground plane.

Diagram of roof plane.

The northern edge of the visitor center is embedded into a berm. Visiors can access this higher ground, with its terraced seating and access points to the surrounding garden environments, via the exterior staircase on the other side fo the building.

Roof terrace with view to seating and garden paths.

Roof terrace

Terrace-level plan

Roof plan

The curving exhibition gallery terminates in the leaf-shaped event space, which is lined with milled ginkgo boards harvested from one of the few trees that had to be felled in order to make way for the new building.

Event space, with a view through the clerestory to the roof terrace above.

Join the Discussion

Please read our Content Guidelines before posting

Close X