A vibrant swath of yellow amid the brownstones of Crown Heights, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum re-opened on September 20 after its completed expansion. Designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects, the expansion will be New York City’s first LEED-certified museum in addition to being the first structure to tap geothermal wells as a means to heat and cool its grounds. The museum’s new exterior -composed of 8.1 million canary yellow tiles- is a playful voluminous canopy that rests above the pre-existing buildings. Subtly glistening, its vibrant color engages and beckons viewers to come explore its earth -and kid- friendly grounds. Read on for all the details, and be sure to check out Inhabitots for an inside tour!

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Rafael Vinoly Architects‘ expansion has doubled the museum’s original size to comprise more than 100,000 square feet, making room for a new lobby, administrative offices, and classrooms. With an eye for environmental sensitivity, the architects chose to feature rapidly renewable and recyclable materials, such as bamboo and recycled rubber flooring, whenever possible. Part of the building’s electricity is generated from a system of photovoltaic panels, and the building is equipped with energy-saving sensors that control interior lighting and ventilation.

The architecture firm also sought to integrate a host of features that would accommodate and engage children. Dual handrails can be found throughout the building to accommodate the varied heights of adults and children, and the yellow structure is punctured with portholes at various heights that allow kids, old and young, to peek out.

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The re-opening of the museum featured a host of new exhibits including a play area as colorful as the building’s exterior designed by May & Watkins and a temporary exhibition called “Living in Space” that mimics an astronaut’s experience in outer space. The museum also features permanent exhibits that celebrate its environs, including “World Brooklyn”, an exhibit that showcases the borough’s diversity, and “Neighborhood Nature” which gives children a taste of the natural habitats that exist in Brooklyn. With imaginative new spaces, green details and a playful new facade, the BCM offers an inspiring and engaging experience for its youthful visitors.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum Tour at Inhabitots >

+ Brooklyn Children’s Museum

+ Rafael Vinoly Architects

Photos by Heuichul Kim