When you’re looking at apartments in Brooklyn, you’re usually focused on all the essentials; the quality of the building, the interior of the apartment, and proximity to subways. Now you can add a feature to add to your list; how close you are to the wonderful Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
Earlier in May, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens inaugurated a new Visitor Center with a 10,000 square foot living roof. What’s a living roof? It’s a planted roof, that in this case, blends into the topography of the location. The rood has over 40,000 plant types including bulbs, grasses and wildflower. But it doesn’t end there. A estimated 60,000 additional plants surround the building, too. This explosion of plant life combines with the landscape design to realize the architect’s vision of an urban oasis and a visitor center that is brimming with life. Designed by the New York based architectural firm Weiss/Manfredi, the center merges modern architecture with landscape design that blends together Brooklyn’s urban and garden environments.
The 20,000 square foot Visitor Center almost camouflages itself into the surrounding landscape, having being built into an existing hill. Inside the building, dramatic floor-to-ceiling curved glass walls open out into the surrounding parkland and themed gardens. Winding walkways guide visitors through the center while offering views of the external landscape and the sense of actually meandering through the gardens.
In addition to the living roof, the Visitor Center has made use of a number of sustainable technologies into its design, including a geothermal heating and cooling system. By building into a berm at the north end, the building taps into the a geothermal energy source that increases the building’s thermal efficiency. This “geoexchange system” is used to heat and cool the building’s interior. Additionally, a collection of gray water gardens surround the building which have been specifically designed to collect and filter runoff, aiding the center’s storm-water management system.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Visitor Center includes an orientation room, information lobby, gift shop, exhibition gallery, cafe, and an events space.
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