Text description provided by the architects. NEST is an interactive sculptural playscape designed and built by Tri-Lox, located on the rooftop terrace at Brooklyn Children's Museum (BCM) in Crown Heights. Inspired by the unique nests made by the baya weaver bird, NESTis made from reclaimed NYC water tower wood fashioned into an organic form that creates a woven landscape made for play with a climbable exterior, circular hammock area, and permeable interior space for open and creative exploration. Tri-Lox explored the museum’s educational collection to inspire the design and came upon a series of well-preserved bird nests. One nest, in particular, made by the baya weaver bird, offers an intricately woven form with rooms, tunnels, and multiple entries.
The design team then transformed this concept into a climbable playscape that retains the natural materiality of the nest and tells a story of an iconic design in our vertical urban habitat – the NYC rooftop water tower. NEST is the newest focal point on the BCM rooftop, completing a multiyear capital project representing several established and respected voices in architectural design. The striking yellow building, designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects and completed in 2008, was added to by Toshiko Mori Architect with a pavilion that made a place for a community gathering on the 20,000 square foot rooftop in 2015. In 2017, landscape architects at Future Green Studio connected the rooftop to Brower Park below with a mini-woodland, boardwalk, and plantings.
Within a footprint of 1,800 square feet, NEST complements the various elements on the rooftop as a new focal point and community asset, offering the Museum’s target visitors, children ages 2-8, as well as caregivers, a place to play, climb, and explore the nature around us, even in the urban environment. Tri-Lox was commissioned by BCM through a request for proposals in mid-2017. The design and fabrication studio put to use the reclaimed materials they are known for, namely the rooftop water tower cedar from their Skyline collection, reintroducing the water tower wood to the rooftop environment in a different form in order to create an organic form with parametric design tools paired with fine craftsmanship.
With the shared priority of creating a community-representative space that can serve children at various ages and stages of development, NEST met the Museum’s priorities for a climbable and iconic play structure and pushes those design strategies even further to incorporate contemporary theories of play and child development. The baya weaver nest’s organic form aligns with philosophies around non-prescriptive play, leaving the experience open-ended, offering new challenges to children as they grow, and ideally bringing them back to the Museum to learn from its rotating exhibitions that expand upon its diverse collection.