Leon Levy Visitor Center New York Botanical Garden
Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates
The New York Botanical Garden, 250 acres of unmatched natural beauty in the heart of the New York City metropolitan region, opened its new Leon Levy Visitor Center to the public on may 1, 2004.
Designed to conform to the natural contours of the site and the location of the mature trees, the Visitor Center frames views that make the Garden's topography and its specimen trees the focal point of the visitor's experience.
The Center represents a fusion of architecture and landscape that uses stone, steel, and glass to create a new, simply stated environment./ Hugh Hardy
Located at the main Conservatory Gate entrance the three-and-a-half-acre Center is comprised of four separate structures that form an elegant and functional transition from the urban surroundings of the City to the pastoral Garden.
Beyond the open-air entrance pavilion a "garden room" joins
architecture and landscape to form an integrated whole. The columns
are enclosed by trellises that, when grown over, will look as
though vines are supporting the roof.
The new Visitor Center includes a cafe, a bookstore and plant
shop, a visitor orientation area, and restrooms. The buildings,
constructed of dark Hamilton New York State bluestone, wood, steel,
and glass, combine modern design with natural materials and
The stone relate to the bedrock in the Garden, the glass walls to the Conservatory, whose roof is visible, the wood to the wood outside and, with the stone, provides earth tones throughout the complex.
Undulating sweeps of "gull-winged" wood roofs and wood rafters,
low rustic stone walls, and expansive glass walls unite to create
an elegant, spacious, and airy complex that blends organically into
The Garden Café, by Cooper, Robertson & Partners, opened in
2001, the International Plant Science Center, designed by Polshek
Partnership Architects, comprising the new William and Lynda Steere
Herbarium and the restored LuEsther T. Mertz Library, opened in
Subsequent phases of the master plan include the Nolen
Glasshouses for Living Collections, designed by Mitchell/Giurgola
Architects, scheduled to open in spring 2005, and the Pfizer Plant
Research Laboratory, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects,
scheduled to open in 2007.
The Nolen Glasshouses for Living Collections, the largest
behind-the-scenes glasshouses for plants at any botanical garden in
the United States, will use the latest in environmental controls
and efficient watering devices.
The Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory will be a 23,000 square feet facility which will provide much needed space for the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullmann program for Molecular Systematics Studies and Plant Genomics Consortium.
Facts about Leon Levy Visitor Center New York Botanical Garden
Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, LLP
Philip Henshaw, Ryan Hallowell
Abel Bainnson Butz, LLP
Jackson Wandres, The RBA Group The Leon Levy Visitor Center is part of the Master Plan of improvements to the 112-year old Garden.
New York Botanical Garden
Last updated: December 19, 2013
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