A giant NEST has landed on the roof of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) — and it’s not for the birds. Brooklyn-based design and fabrication practice TRI-LOX created NEST, the museum’s new interactive playscape built out of reclaimed timber from the city’s rooftop water towers. Designed with parametric tools, the sustainable installation takes inspiration from the unique nests of the baya weaver birds — their nests are featured in the museum’s educational collection — and comprises an organic woven landscape with 1,800 square feet of space for open and creative play.
Opened just in time for summer, the NEST playscape at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) in Crown Heights caters to children ages 2 to 8. The woven wooden landscape is set on artificial turf and includes a climbable exterior and a series of ribbed tunnels and rooms that make up a permeable interior with entrances marked by bright blue paint. The reclaimed cedar slats not only make the structure easy to climb, but also partially obscure views for added playfulness. The top of the structure is crowned with a circular hammock area that directs views up toward the sky.
“In exploring the museum’s educational collection, we came upon a series of incredible bird nests and let them inspire our design,” said Alexander Bender, co-founder and managing partner of TRI-LOX, which was commissioned by BCM through a request for proposals in mid-2017. “One nest in particular, made by the baya weaver bird, offers an intricately woven form with rooms, tunnels and multiple entries. This concept was then transformed into a climbable playscape that retains the natural materiality of the nest and tells a story of an iconic design within our vertical urban habitat — the NYC rooftop wood water tower. We quite literally brought the water tower back to the rooftop with this project … it just had to be turned into a giant nest first.”
NEST playscape is the newest focal point for the BCM, which consists of a series of architecturally significant designs befitting its title as the world’s first children’s museum. Rafael Viñoly designed the museum’s eye-catching yellow building in 2008. Seven years later, Toshiko Mori added a pavilion on the 20,000-square-foot rooftop that was complemented with lush planting plan and a boardwalk by Future Green Studio in 2017.
Photography by Arion Doerr via TRI-LOX