The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is opening its new 20,000-square-foot visitor center, marking the completion of a key component of the most significant renewal effort there since the BBG was founded more than a century ago. The project was recognized back in 2008 by the New York City Public Design Commission with an Award for Excellence in Design.
There will be a lot of excitement and fanfare to mark the occasion tomorrow, May 16, beginning with an opening celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other New York City and state officials. Then on Saturday June 2, there will be a June Jubilee commemorating the visitor center with free admission, music and gardening activities.
The Visitor replaces a modest gate on Washington Avenue with an enticing entry into the 52-acre garden. The building houses interpretive exhibits and a room for orienting tour groups, a leaf-shaped event space, and an expanded gift and plant shop. Conceived as a seamless extension of the Garden’s landscape, the glass structure is embedded in an existing hillside at the Garden’s northeast corner, composed of two linked forms that seem to appear, disappear and change shape as the visitor moves through and around them. The center also boasts a 10,000-square-foot living roof that’s home to more than 40,000 plants.