New York, NY, May 01, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- International consulting engineer Weidlinger Associates, Inc., provided structural and civil engineering services for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) Visitor Center, winner of a 2014 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) National Honor Award. The award was presented April 29, 2014, at the organization’s annual gala in Washington, DC’s Grand Hyatt Hotel.
The Visitor Center, designed by architect Weiss/Manfredi, serves as an elegant threshold into the historic 52-acre garden. Nestled against a 25-foot-high berm (which enhances thermal efficiency), the building comprises a single-story retail pavilion and a double-height, leaf-shaped events pavilion, connected by a trellis-like glazed canopy. A single-pitched living roof garden atop the events space boasts 40,000 seasonal plants. As the gardens mature and the pleated copper roof on its east side weathers to green, the building will vanish into the surrounding flora to become an extension of the landscape.
“The BBG Visitor Center is a remarkable structure,” said Weidlinger Principal Tian-Fang Jing. “Its exposed steel elements, elegant curvature, and extraordinary green roof create a striking first impression on visitors to the garden. I am proud to have contributed to its design, and thrilled that it has received so much recognition from our peers in the industry.”
The 320-foot-long Visitor Center varies in width along its entire length. It is 60 feet wide and one story high at its eastern end, but double-height and narrowed to a point over the rear-facing events room. Its nonrepetitive design features myriad curves and includes architecturally expressed steel and concrete.
Weidlinger worked with the architects to design structural systems that overcame budgetary constraints, limited accessibility, and the unorthodox contours of both the building and the site, lowering costs by simplifying the building’s geometry and reducing the cantilever spans of the roof rafters and the total weight of the steel. Construction sequencing was crucial because access was limited. Unanticipated conditions presented additional design challenges, including contaminated residue and a tangle of subsurface waste pipes and electrical wires.
The facility incorporates a number of environmentally sustainable features, which recently earned it LEED Gold certification. Its green roof supports six inches of composite soil and plantings, with loads that vary greatly, depending on the weather. Weidlinger civil engineers designed various stormwater management strategies to keep runoff from discharging into city sewers.
The iconic structure houses interpretive exhibits, provides a rest stop for guests, serves as an orientation area for tourist groups, and hosts special events to enhance BBG’s image and generate financial support. BBG is home to more than 12,000 types of plants and hosts over 725,000 guests annually, thousands of whom will view the unique contours and seasonal roof garden of the Center, along with its exposed steel components, whose implementation as architectural elements distinguishes the structure.
The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is the voice of America's engineering industry. Council members—numbering more than 5,000 firms representing more than 500,000 employees throughout the country—are engaged in a wide range of engineering works that propel the nation's economy, and enhance and safeguard America's quality of life. These works allow Americans to drink clean water, enjoy a healthy life, take advantage of new technologies, and travel safely and efficiently. The Council's mission is to contribute to America's prosperity and welfare by advancing the business interests of member firms. For more information, visit www.acec.org.
Weidlinger Associates, Inc., is a structural engineering firm that designs and rehabilitates buildings, bridges, and infrastructure and provides special services in applied science, forensics, and physical security. The firm, which employs about 300 full-time staff, celebrated its 60th year in 2009. It is recognized worldwide for its innovative and practical design solutions and for its long-term commitment to advancing the state of the art in engineering. Headquartered in New York City, the firm has branch offices in the United States and the United Kingdom. For more information, please see www.wai.com.