Every year on one of the first weekends in October the door of interesting buildings in the city open up to the public. It is an amazing opportunity to learn about old and new architecture of New York. This year I had a chance to participate in a tour of newly open Visitors’ Center at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
Elegantly designed by Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, the Center proves that the building can be environmentally responsible and beautiful at the same time. BBG is reaching for LEED NC Gold and employs many wonderful strategies that limit its’ environmental footprint.
Fritt on the glass controls glare and heat gain, and prevents birds from colliding with windows.
The building responds to the location in its form that brings visitors gently into the gardens. The interiors are skillfully detailed and benefit from high level of transparency and views of the surroundings.
The ceiling in the main space reference a leaf, echo floor design, house indirect lighting, and provide superb acoustics.
You can learn about all environmental features of the building from very informative signs placed in and around the Center. I highly recommend a visit!
Few weeks ago I was invited to speak about up-cycling at the annual convention of the Colegio de Disenadore-Decoradores de Interiores de Puerto Rico. It was truly an “up-lifting” event!
The conference took place in the beautiful La Concha hotel in San Juan, which itself was few years ago rescued by the local community from being demolished. The demolition already started, but was stopped by protesters, and then brought back to life and glory by the local architects!
Included in the conference was a competition organized among local students of interior design. Students were to design from discarded elements an object for interiors. All of the entries: lamps, clocks, tables, chairs proved again endless creativity of the design students. My favorite was a small night lamp with shade made out of plastic spoons.
But the most memorable were exchanges and discussions we had with designers and architects. Attendants of the convention shared with us their awareness and sensitivity of life and work on a small island where they are every day reminded of the problems the whole world is facing: finite resources and unsustainable development and consumerism. What Puerto Rico, and other small islands of the world are facing today is what the whole world will face tomorrow unless we start seriously work toward changing our modus operandi. The Earth is a small island with its limits clearly defined.
And one more thing that I will remember: the amazing hospitality and the warmth of my hosts! Thank you, my friends in Puerto Rico for inviting me!