New Visitor Center Coming to Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Complete with living roof, the 20,000-square-foot center will open in May.

The will unveil a newly renovated Visitor Center on May 16, one of the first in renewal efforts at the century-old garden.

The new 20,000-square-foot Center will replace the former gate on Washington Avenue with a curved glass building embedded into the hillside at the Garden’s northeast corner. The new Center also incorporates a 10,000-square-foot leaf-shaped living roof, hosting over 40,000 plants and aimed toward earning LEED Gold certification. In addition, a geoexchange system heats and cools the interior space, and a series of rain gardens collect and filter runoff to improve storm-water management.

“The Visitor Center will help transform the face of the Garden to our neighbors, visitors, and passersby—not only beautifying the street, but bringing the spirit of the Garden to the streetscapes beyond,” said Scot Medbury, president of BBG. “This extraordinary structure is not only a building, but is every bit a landscape as well, and we’re very excited to invite our fellow Brooklynites to explore how a building can serve as a garden, and how plants can be beautifully integrated into a urban environment.”

By the opening date of the new Visitor Center, nearly 60,000 plants will have been installed around the building, including cherry, magnolia, and tupelo trees; viburnums; native roses; and three rain gardens full of water-loving plants.

The new Center was designed by York–based firm Weiss/Manfredi, and the project was recognized by the New York City Public Design Commission with a 2008 Award for Excellence in Design.

In addition to the re-vamped Visitor Center, upcoming projects at the BBG include a new Herb Garden, a Woodland Garden, and an expanded Native Flora Garden. A series of renovations at the southern end of BBG will be soon under way, as well, including a new Water Garden, water conservation project, a new children’s Discovery Garden, and an expanded and redesigned public entrance at Flatbush Avenue.


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