Green-Wood Cemetery’s $34M welcome center that wraps around historic greenhouse breaks ground

May 24, 2023

All renderings courtesy of Architecture Research Office (ARO) 

Construction has begun on a new welcome center that will teach visitors about Green-Wood Cemetery’s rich history. Located across from the cemetery’s main entrance on 25th Street and Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, the new $34 million Education and Welcome Center will feature two exhibition galleries for Green-Wood’s art and archival collections, host educational events and programs, and serve as a hub for scholarly research, staff offices, and meeting and event spaces. The new building, which will be built around the historic Weir Greenhouse, will be completed by June 2025.

“Today we mark the start of a new chapter in Green-Wood’s storied history,” Richard J. Moylan, president of the cemetery, said in a statement. “As we cement our position as a leader in so many disciplines and as an anchor in this vibrant community, it’s only fitting that our neighbors and visitors have a welcoming Center where they can enhance their Green-Wood experience—year-round. We are particularly excited that our new Center will serve all New Yorkers and visitors and especially our neighbors in Brooklyn.”

Designed by Architecture Research Office (ARO), the new building wraps around the landmarked 19th-century Weir Greenhouse, the only Victorian commercial greenhouse in New York City, according to Patch. The historic greenhouse is currently finishing up a nearly nine-year reconstruction after falling into disrepair.

The L-shaped project includes a two-story volume set away from the existing greenhouse, an entry courtyard designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, and a one-story structure that matches the height of the greenhouse.

The new center will centralize programs housing in buildings across the grounds and allow Green-Wood to offer its cultural and educational programming, usually held outdoors, all year.

The architects designed the center’s facade with a curtain wall and custom glazed terra cotta to make it dynamic in appearance. According to a press release, the “terra cotta’s burgundy color references the brownstone of the Upjohn Arches and complements the greenhouse’s copper roof as it gains a patina.”

The building will feature an ADA-accessible, sustainable design with a “high-performing thermal envelope,” energy-efficient lighting, and “environmentally controlled storage” for Green-Wood’s renowned collections, according to a press release.

Visitors will learn about Green-Wood’s role in the development of the region’s cultural and natural history through displays, immersive exhibitions, and captivating programs, inspiring guests to appreciate the historic site.

“The Green-Wood Cemetery is a unique urban oasis and a treasure trove of historical significance,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “The new Education and Welcome Center will help to unlock that treasure for visitors and further reinforce Green-Wood’s role as an iconic New York cultural institution. The preservation of this landmark is crucial to our understanding of the past, our appreciation of the present, and our vision for the future.”

Construction on the project is being funded with $4.1 million from the state, $2 million from the NY State Council on the Arts, $1.5 million from Empire State Development, and $600,000 from the state legislature.


All renderings courtesy of Architecture Research Office (ARO) 

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