The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s green-roofed Visitor Center has been one of New York City's most prized horticultural gems since it opened last year, and now it's added LEED Gold Certification to its list of accolades. Unveiled last year as part of the Garden's centennial celebration, the 20,000 square-foot building blends landscape design and architecture into a beautiful living structure that meets some of the U.S. Green Building Council’s most rigorous sustainability requirements.
Designed by the New York-based multidisciplinary design firm WEISS/MANFREDI, the BBG Visitor Center was envisioned as a seamless gateway between city and garden. The building is hailed as a model of energy-efficient design and includes sustainable features such as an earth-sheltered construction, a geoexchange system for heating and cooling, and high-performing fritted-glass walls that minimize heat gain and maximize natural illumination.
The Visitor Center’s iconic 10,000-square-foot leaf-shaped living roof was a key factor in securing LEED Gold certification. Covered with over 40,000 plants, the green roof meadow can harvest nearly 200,000 gallons of stormwater runoff each year. All the runoff from the Visitor Center roof, plazas and hillsides will be retained onsite and used for irrigation. Native rain gardens surrounding the site capture and filter additional runoff for future use.
In addition to promoting sustainability through design, the Visitor Center is also commended for educating and engaging the community in greater dialogue on sustainability. “As a LEED Gold building, the BBG Visitor Center boldly advances the mutual agendas of architecture and landscape,” said architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi.
Images via Albert Vecerka