Queens Botanical Garden Visitor and Administration Center
The Queens Botanical Garden is a nexus of botanical and cultural exploration for the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the United States, Queens County. The new Visitor and Administration Center is a constructed extension of the garden’s mission: to demonstrate environmental stewardship while celebrating the cultural connections between people and plants. To that end, the Visitor Center is LEED® Platinum certified, a first for a public building in New York. From the start of the project, the principles of sustainability guided the design process. Water, an important natural element for all cultures, is reintroduced throughout the site, unifying buildings and landscape.
The Center is made up of three interconnected spaces: a forecourt and a spectacular canopy, a central reception and administration building clad in wood and glass, and an auditorium space nestled in the landscape itself, sheltered by a green roof in slope. Other sustainable elements include solar panels, a geothermal system, gray and storm water management systems, and extensive use of recycled and renewable materials.
Completed in 2011, the 117-vehicle “parking garden” is made of a variety of paving materials, including permeable pavers to allow water infiltration and parking areas interrupted by planted vegetative swales that manage stormwater. Nearby is a new horticulture and maintenance building, made from pre-engineered corrugated metal siding, cedar siding and corrugated translucent panels that maximize daylight.