Wyckoff House Museum
East Flatbush, Brooklyn

The Wyckoff House Museum in Brooklyn (c.1650) is the site of New York State’s oldest house, and the first landmark designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1968. As part of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s Design Excellence Program, in 2011 nARCHITECTS was awarded the commission to design a new Cultural Education building and landscape for its one-acre site. The newly defined Museum will communicate the Dutch experience in Brooklyn and its roots in the founding of America.

Conceived as a portal between its present-day environment and historical site, the new building will act as a buffer to a noisy and heterogeneous context, guiding visitors into a covered area with a strong visual connection to the House. In addition to providing access to public programs and administration, the portal will also shelter a variety of outdoor programs, housed in two separate volumes that bring to mind the farm buildings previously on the site.

In a direct reference to a china cabinet in the House – in which an orange interior is revealed behind a dark exterior – the building’s dark zinc cladding is contrasted by the portal’s bright and thematically colored interior, clad in orange glazed terracotta panels. The galvalume roof has been designed as a rain collector, without gutters or downspouts: roof runoff will be channeled to an exterior “rain chase,” an invention to simplify maintenance and provide a didactic spectacle for visitors, as rainwater is directed to a bioswale and detention tanks below grade.

The landscape design with Nancy Owens Studio provides a direct view of the House, yet allows its experience to unfold from different angles along an indirect path. Native and historical plantings are woven into a simple and sparse landscape, while many features and spaces heighten the experience of the small one-acre site. The building is on track to receive a LEED Silver rating at minimum, and is expected to break ground in 2015.

Wyckoff House Museum
Client : NYC Department of Parks
Project Location : East Flatbush, Brooklyn
Status : 2011 – 17, In Bid
Area : 5,000sf (building), 60,000sf (park
Program : Cultural education & visitors’ center, park landscape
Sustainability : LEED Silver target
Awards : AIANY Design Merit Award
nARCHITECTS Team : Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang (Principals); Ammr Vandal (Associate, Project Manager); Christopher Grabow, Lily Zhang, Marc Puig, Cheryl Baxter, Tony Saba-Shiber, Daniel-Katebini Stengel, with Mariela Alvarez Toro, Daniel Morrison, Alex Tseng, Nancy Putnam
Collaborators : Landscape Architect: Nancy Owens Studio; MEP Engineer: PLUS Group; Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates; Lighting: MediumBase; Civil Engineering: Munoz Engineering; Cost Estimator: Westerman Construction; Graphic Design: karlssonwilker