Brooklyn Children’s Museum

by | 03. Aug 2012

Cultural | Feature | Sustainable

Photo: Chuck Choi

With its glittering envelope of 8.1 million yellow ceramic tiles the new building is a landmark attraction in the ethnically diverse residential neighborhood of Crown Heights.

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.

The singular structure differs from its context, in both color and physical form, yet remains welcoming and deferential to the museum’s existing built fabric.
Two stories of new construction adds a library, exhibition galleries, café, and classrooms to the existing 1977 museum. The design provides access to the existing rooftop terrace and outdoor theater, linking these spaces directly to a second-floor Kids’ Café.

Photo: Chuck Choi

Photo: Chuck Choi

The design of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a force for shaping the creativity of young minds. Its expanded presence in the neighborhood elicits a visceral, instinctive response in children that is exciting to see.
/Rafael Viñoly

The expanded plan and second-floor galleries are integrated with the existing structure through open staircases and vertical circulation cores, providing visitors with a wider array of circulation options.

Photo: Chuck Choi

Throughout the building, specially designed features ensure that the architecture remains child-accessible. Additional wooden handrails are mounted at a low level, and porthole windows punctuate the building envelope at a variety of heights and angles, yielding a series of unique elevated perspectives on the neighborhood.

Photo: Chuck Choi

Photo: Chuck Choi

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is slated to be New York City’s first LEED-certified museum 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.

Photo: Michael Moran

Drawing courtesy Rafael Viñoly ArchitectsSite Plan

Sketch courtesy Rafael Viñoly Architects


CITYBrooklyn, New York
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTMathews Nielsen Landscape Architects