Last week elected and garden officials cut a ceremonial garland to officially open BBG's new Visitor Center. The center is a synthesis of architecture and landscape design, replacing a modest gate on Washington Avenue with an enticing entry into the 52-acre garden, housing interpretive exhibits and a room for orienting tour groups.
Embedded in an existing hillside at the garden’s northeast corner, the center is composed of two linked forms that seem to appear, disappear, and change shape as the visitor moves through and around them.
“The Visitor Center is both an extension and elevation of the garden’s topography, softening the transition from city to garden and allowing us a significant new way to model how plants can fit into urban environments,” said Scot Medbury, president of Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
The leaf-shaped living roof on the center hosts over 40,000 plants—grasses, spring bulbs, and perennial wildflowers—adding a new experimental landscape to the garden’s collection. The green roof will change throughout the year, literally transforming the nature of the architecture each season.
“You know the saying 'a tree grows in Brooklyn'” said Borough President Marty Markowitz. “At the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, it’s a 'building grows in the garden,' and it’s hard to tell where the garden starts and the building ends.”
A short time-lapse video, available on BBG’s website (nextcentury.bbg.org/news), shows the creation and transformation of the living roof through various weather elements.
BBG is in the midst of creating a suite of new and enhanced gardens, facilities, and programs. Other notable projects include a new Herb Garden, a Woodland Garden, and an expanded Native Flora Garden.
In addition, an ambitious series of renovations at the southern end of BBG will be soon under way, including a new Water Garden, water conservation project, and new children’s Discovery Garden.