- Project Name
- Green-Wood Cemetery Education and Welcome Center
- Architecture Research Office (ARO)
- Green-Wood Cemetery
- Project Types
- Project Scope
- New Construction
- Shared by
- Madeleine D'Angelo
- Project Status
- On the Boards/In Progress
FROM THE ARCHITECTS:
The Green-Wood Cemetery and Architecture Research Office (ARO) are celebrating the unveiling of the firm’s design for a new Education and Welcome Center.
Founded in 1838, Green-Wood is one of the largest and most varied of the early American rural cemeteries, carefully sited with dramatic views of the city and the harbor beyond. Within its grounds are hills, valleys, glacial ponds, and paths leading to one of the largest outdoor collections of 19th- and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums. Right across from the Main Entrance is the only surviving Victorian greenhouse in New York City, the iconic Weir Greenhouse, built in 1880 and enlarged in 1895, which has been a New York City Landmark since 1982 and was acquired by Green-Wood in 2012.
The new building that ARO has designed to surround the Weir Greenhouse, gracefully complements, supports, and transforms the site into a visitor-friendly front door to the Cemetery. The Center will also allow Green-Wood to extend its cultural and educational programming to a year-round schedule. One side of the new L-shaped construction is a large two-story volume set away from the existing greenhouse, creating an entry courtyard, while the other side is a one-story volume that aligns with the height of the greenhouse eaves.
The winding landscape of the entry courtyard is designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. It surrounds the restored greenhouse and recalls the distinctive winding pathways within the cemetery.
ARO’s design presents the new building as a unified composition that reinforces Green-Wood’s role as a neighborhood hub— with access to exhibition galleries, a classroom for Green-Wood’s K-12 education programs and community use, and the Cemetery’s archival records, as well as a catering kitchen and staff offices. It also activates the historic greenhouse as a flexible multipurpose space for events and art installations. Throughout the project, strong visual connections define the architectural and landscape design of the site. The large windows in the exhibition galleries and on the second floor offer expansive views of the greenhouse and the grand Gothic Arch designed by Richard Upjohn & Son that marks the Main Entrance to the Cemetery. Targeting LEED Gold, the building’s sculpted green roof sits atop the new construction to connect it to the Cemetery landscape. Glazed terra cotta was selected for the façade for energy efficiency as well as its ability to complement the celebrated greenhouse and Green-Wood’s historic structures. The building and landscape also provide efficiency in water use, a high-performing thermal envelope, low-energy lighting, bicycle infrastructure, and habitats for local pollinators. The new building balances Green-Wood’s commitment to historic preservation and aims for a future with an inspiring sustainable design.
Reflecting the character and historic integrity of the Cemetery, the Center’s façade is composed of a curtain wall and custom glazed terra cotta. This traditional material applied to the new construction creates a dynamic facade. The play of natural light and shadow animates the angled terra-cotta baguettes, giving the facade a jewel-like element. The brise soleil shields the building’s floor-to-ceiling windows and acts as a passive climate control element that reduces the building’s heat gain. The terra cotta’s burgundy color references the brownstone of the Upjohn Arches and complements the greenhouse’s copper roof as it gains a patina.
Since its founding, The Green-Wood Cemetery has thrived on its core assets of art, history, and nature, and has served as an important connection to its surrounding neighborhoods, including Sunset Park, Park Slope, and Kensington, as well as New York City as a whole. The Cemetery's effort to expand the scope of its activities has created an impressive addition to the cultural life of New York City. Through the design of multi-use spaces that can evolve with the institution over time, the Education and Welcome Center will allow ample flexibility for gathering, exhibition, educational, and staff work environments
Project: Green-Wood Cemetery Education and Welcome Center, New York.
Architects: Architecture Research Office, New York.