The Brooklyn Botanic Garden was built more than a century ago on a coal-ash dump. The historical use and unforeseen site conditions meant a rocky start for BBG's latest project: a $28-million visitor center with an undulating green roof, set to open on May 16.
At construction's outset in 2010, the builders of the 22,000-sq-ft sinuous building were braced for challenge: The nonrepetitive design by New York City-based Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism had myriad curves in plan and section, which meant it had no learning curve. There is architecturally expressed steel and concrete, which was challenging from a quality-control perspective. And there were logistical complexities: The site for the 400-ft-long center, as wide as 70 ft, was only 600 ft long and 150 ft wide.