- Civil & Geotechnical Engineer:Langan Engineering
- Cost Estimating:Faithful+Gould
- Acoustics & Audio Visual:Shen Milsom + Wilke
- Building Department:Metropolis
- Faia, Specifications:Heller + Metzger PC
- Curtainwall:Gordon Smith Construction
- Sustainable Design & Commissioning:Viridian
- Security:Ducibella Venter & Santore
- Museum Programming:Dial Associates
- Sustainable Design And Commissioning:Viridian
- Audiovisual:Shen Milsom & Wilke
- Country:United States
Text description provided by the architects. The primary purpose of the new structure and landscape is to serve as a gateway to the historic houses on the premises - remnants of the 19th century free African American community of Weeksville - with state-of-the-art exhibition, performance and educational facilities, as well as to provide a green oasis for visitors and the local community. The main lobby will include introductory exhibits, and leads to a gallery for changing shows, a lecture and performance space for 200, classrooms for visiting groups and for community education, and a library resource center for visiting scholars. Administrative offices are to be located on the second floor, and the cellar is to include archival storage space as well as a room for recording oral histories.
The landscape is the dominant element in the composition. This space creates a transitional distance between the historic houses and new center. Movement through the recreated farmland links the present to the past, between the now and the then.
The rolling mown field, and areas of wildflowers evoke the community’s agricultural origins. The old trail ‘Hunterfly Road’ disappears and reappears before the houses in a ‘ghost landscape’ extrapolated from old maps.
In deference to the historic structures, the building is kept intentionally low, sited to protect the view of the old houses, while providing the broad portal gateway along the old Indian trail to the houses and long open views of the historic site through the transparent corridors.
The building enclosure consists of a composition of wood rainscreen, slate rainscreen, and insulated glass window walls and horizontal ribbon windows. The wood rainscreen consists of specially milled îpe boards, with open joints, attached to aluminum clips over a continuous air barrier. The slate rainscreen consists of 1-1/4” thick custom-cut slate panels mechanically attached to load-bearing metal studs with stone anchors, over a continuous air barrier. The laminated insulated glass roof includes a specially designed frit pattern, echoing African patterns, for solar shading.
The Weeksville Heritage Center organization maintains deep ties to the local community, including the 2400 residents of the neighboring Kingsborough Houses public housing development. During summer months, Weeksville hosts community farmers markets every Saturday and stages a free summer concert and film series. The new building includes a 40,000 square feet open landscaped area for community use. The project site is immediately adjacent to several municipal bus lines, a 10-minute walk to three subway lines, and a 20-minute walk to the nearest regional rail station. a. Parking spaces per occupant: 0.18 b. WalkScore rating: 74