Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The Eagle received the following press release: Rafael Vinoly Architects’ expansion of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, located at the intersection of Brooklyn Avenue and St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights, has been certified LEED Silver, making it New York City’s first LEED-certified museum.
In addition (as the Eagle has previously reported), it has been awarded a 2009 Building Brooklyn Award in the “Institutional” category from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s Real Estate and Development Committee.
The museum was founded in 1899 and expanded on its current site in 1977. In 1999, it began to seek ways to increase capacity and to create a new public presence for the 21st century. Rafael Vinoly Architects has achieved this by creating a distinctive L-shaped, two story structure that differs from its context in color as well as physical form, yet remains welcoming and deferential to the museum’s existing built fabric.
The plan doubles the museum’s space to 102,000 square feet and is expected to expand its annual visitor capacity from 250,000 to 400,000. The architecture of the new building is compelling and inviting to children, its glittering envelope of 8.1 million yellow ceramic tiles creating a landmark attraction.
Two stories of new construction integrated with the existing structure add a spacious lobby, exhibition galleries, classrooms, a library, a café, a gift shop, and administrative space. Child-friendly features include low-level handrails and porthole windows. Whenever possible, construction utilized rapidly renewable and recycled materials.
The museum is the first in New York City to employ geothermal wells for heating and cooling purposes. “The design of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a force for shaping the creativity of young minds,” says Rafael Vinoly. “Its expanded presence in the neighborhood elicits a visceral, instinctive response in children that’s exciting to see.”
Photo by Chuck Choi
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