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The Wyckoff House Museum in Brooklyn (c. 1650) is the site of the oldest house in the state of New York, and the first landmark designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, in 1968. In 2011, nARCHITECTS was awarded the commission to design a new cultural education building and landscape for its one-acre site with the goal of communicating 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 building acts as a buffer from 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 shelters 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 exterior stands in contrast to the bright and thematically colored interior surfaces of the portal, which is clad in orange glazed terra cotta panels.

One can choose to bypass the gallery and administration spaces and head directly to the Wyckoff House.

Two volumes are united by one roof; in this way, the building functions as a portal to the historic site.

Client: New York City Department of Parks, commissioned through the Department of Design and Construction’s Design Excellence Program
Location: East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY
Status: Schematic design
Dates: 2011 – 2017
Sq Footage: 5,000sf (building), 60,000sf (park)
Program: Cultural education and visitors’ center, park landscape
Environmental: LEED Silver target

Design Team: Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang | Ammr Vandal | Christopher Grabow, Lily Zhang, Marc Puig, Cheryl Baxter, Tony Saba-Shiber, Daniel-Katebini Stengel |  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