Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center | WEISS/MANFREDI

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center is located within the berm that separates the Brooklyn Museum parking lot from the botanic garden. The Garden contains a variety of landscapes organized into discrete settings; the Visitor Center serves as legible point of arrival and orientation, and it defines a new threshold between the city and the landscapes of the 52-acre garden.

The Visitor Center has an architectural presence at Washington Avenue yet transitions into a structured landscape as it moves into the botanic garden. Nestled into the berm on the north side and topped with an undulating green roof, the building blends gracefully into the landscape. On the south side, too, the design mediates the relationship between “culture” and “cultivation” through veiled views into the Garden from the exhibition gallery. The gallery’s curved glass surfaces are spectrally selective and fritted to minimize heat gain and maximize natural illumination. In addition to the gallery, the Center’s program includes an information lobby, orientation room, restrooms, gift shop, café, catering and kitchen, and an event space.

Beyond the native grasses planted on the green roof and the drought-resistant species that populate the landscape, the Center integrates other sustainable elements (a geothermal exchange and a rain garden, for example) to further its educational mission and environmental goals. Materials were purchased locally, and quite appropriately a century-old Ginko tree was successfully transplanted on-site, while other trees in conflict were harvested, milled, and integrated into interior finishes. Listen to an audio clip about the Center https://soundcloud.com/aianational/brooklyn-botanical-garden.

Additional Credits

  • Acoustics/AV/Security Consultant: Cerami & Associates, Inc.
  • Construction Manager: The Liro Group
  • Cost Estimator: AMIS Inc.
  • Curtain Wall Consultant: R.A. Heintges & Associates
  • Engineer - MEP/FP: Jaros, Baum & Bolles
  • Engineer - Structural and Civil: Weidlinger Associates Inc.
  • Environmental Consultant: Viridian Energy & Environmental, LLC
  • Food Service Consultant: Ricca Newmark Design
  • Geothermal/Geotechnical Engineer: Langan Engineering and Environmental Services
  • General Contractor: E.W. Howell
  • Landscape Architect: HM White
  • Lighting Design Consultant: Brandston Partnership, Inc.
  • Retail Consultant: Jeanne Giordano Ltd.
  • Security Consultant: TM Technology Partners
  • Traffic Consultant: Sam Schwartz LLC

Photo Credit

    © Albert Vecerka/Esto

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center

  • Architect: WEISS/MANFREDI
  • Owner: Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Location: Brooklyn, New York
(Photo credits at bottom of page)

Jury Comments

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center is quite wonderful – simple and exquisite.

It is a ribbon of building, integrating roof, pedestrian experience, and city context.

The building is extremely inviting. Its innovative and welcoming design are very well-fitted to the landscape and its context. Transition from the human-made environment to the natural environment was executed in a dexterous manner.

We are entranced by this project not because it is a visual masterpiece, but because of the care with which the architects designed it.

2014 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury

  • Scott Wolf, FAIA (Chair)
  • The Miller Hull Partnership LLP
  • Seattle
  • Natalye Appel, FAIA
  • Natalye Appel + Associates Architects
  • Houston
  • Mary Brush, AIA
  • Brush Architects, LLC
  • Chicago
  • Joy Coleman, AIA
  • Treanor Architects
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Robert M. Hon
  • AIAS Student Representative
  • Savannah
  • Brenda A. Levin, FAIA
  • Levin & Associates Architects
  • Los Angeles
  • Michael J. Mills, FAIA
  • Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC
  • Princeton, New Jersey
  • G. Martin Moeller, Assoc. AIA
  • National Building Museum
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Ed Soltero, AIA
  • Office of the University Architect - Arizona State University
  • Tempe, Arizona

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