Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
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Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Brooklyn, New York

2008 5,203 m²

Seeking expanded capacity to serve a growing audience of children and families, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum wanted a new public presence that would contribute to the vitality of the surrounding community. Rafael Viñoly Architects achieved this goal by creating a 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 architecture of the new building is compelling and inviting to children, its glittering envelope of yellow ceramic tiles creating a landmark attraction in the ethnically diverse residential neighborhood of Crown Heights.

The implemented design completely rethinks the existing 1977 museum, both expanding and reconfiguring it. Two stories of new construction add a library, exhibition galleries, café, and classrooms. The new building’s expanded plan and second-floor galleries are integrated with the existing structure through open staircases and vertical circulation cores. The design provides access to the existing rooftop terrace and outdoor theater, linking these spaces directly to a second-floor Kids’ Café. Throughout the building, specially designed features ensure that the architecture remains child-accessible: for instance, additional wooden handrails are mounted at a low level, and porthole windows punctuate the building envelope at a variety of heights and angles.

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is New York City’s first LEED-certified museum—it achieved LEED Silver in 2010—and the first to tap geothermal wells for heating and cooling purposes. Wherever possible, construction utilized rapidly renewable and recycled materials and incorporated high-performance/sustainable features. Photovoltaic cells on exterior walls convert solar energy directly into electrical power, and energy-saving sensors control the interior lighting and ventilation systems.

target="_blank">New York City Department of Design and Construction - Sustainable Design Projects