New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand in May for a ribbon cutting ceremony for Weiss/Manfredi's Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Centre. The building will serve as an elegant gateway between city and garden as it fades into the landscape. The 1,860 square metre Visitor Centre is composed of two buildings, joined by a translucent canopy, which envelop the user as the forms unfold into the hillside. The spatial experience and visual transition are designed to mediate between the surrounding urban area and the oasis of vegetation housed in the 49 hectare Botanic Garden.
The two buildings are arranged as a seamless extension of the Garden's path system as they poke out of the hillside, inviting garden-goers in. "Just as the Garden inspires wandering, we designed the Centre so that it is never seen in its entirety but is experienced cinematically as an unfolding place of discovery," Weiss/Manfredi principals Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi said in a statement. The buildings offer two distinct spatial sequences: between them, a direct path to the garden with new framed views that change as the user moves through, and inside the buildings patrons can experience interpretive exhibits, and orientation room for tour groups, an event space, and a gift shop. A 930 square metre "living roof" caps the project.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is located in Frederick Law Olmstead's historic Prospect Park. The Visitor's Centre will act as an entrance on the Northeast corner of the garden, and has been recognized by the New York Public Design Commission with an Award for excellence in Design. It is also expected to earn a LEED Gold certification.