As a part of Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Campaign for the Next Century, the Garden is working to transform the visitor experience, enhance its commitment to environmental sustainability, and engage with a rapidly growing audience. Beginning design in 2010, MVVA has worked with BBG to implement these goals through various projects. Construction began in 2013 on a new entrance and the Early Spring Garden at Flatbush Avenue, which opened alongside a dramatically redesigned Children's Discovery Garden in the spring of 2015. The following year, implementation of an innovative Water Conservation project began, the first phase of which opened to the public in September, 2016. Construction will continue on the remainder of the water conservation project and a new Woodland Garden through 2018.
The Early Spring Garden creates an attractive entrance experience at the restored McKim, Mead, and White Flatbush Avenue entry gate alongside a new ticket booth and comfort station. The space is filled with lustrous evergreen trees and shrubs surrounded by a carpet of spring blooming perennials and a variety of flowering bulbs. This new lush southern entry helps BBG manage its growing audience, which approached nearly 1 million visitors in 2015.
The next feature of the south garden is the relocated and expanded Children's Discovery Garden, nearly quadruple the size of the previous space. A network of kid-sized trails connect microcosms of natural plant communities, including marsh, meadow, and woodland ecosystems. Plantings in a variety of scales and characteristics are featured so that the space can be an active learning environment for the more than 150,000 children who visit the garden each year for both formal and informal educational programs.
The most ambitious and technically innovative portion of the work at BBG is the new Water Garden and associated Water Conservation Project. Through careful collaboration with engineers, hydrologists, and BBG's leadership, the design team was able to simultaneously address issues of water management and ecological richness. By greatly reducing the garden's reliance on freshwater to feed the brook and terminal pond through the reuse of rainwater as a part of a filtration and recirculation system, the new water garden will save 21 million gallons of freshwater annually. Careful manipulations to the existing infrastructure nearly doubled the catchment area that contributes rainwater to the water garden system. Additionally, the terminal pond acts as a stormwater collection basin which can be automatically lowered or raised based on anticipated rainfall. A smart water control system, which uses satellite technology coupled with on-site sensors, operates a series of valves to control the outflow of stormwater to Brooklyn's overburdened combined sewer system. The discharge during storm events is projected to be reduced by 5.5 million gallons annually. All of this is achieved while creating a visually stunning and ecologically diverse landscape through the planting of over 20,000 new perennials, grasses, trees and shrubs.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden