September 2007


43-50 Main Street, Flushing, NY


Queens Botanical Garden

The Queens Botanical Garden is a nexus of botanical and cultural exploration for the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the United States, Queens County. The new Visitor & Administration Center is a built extension of the Garden’s mission: to demonstrate environmental stewardship while celebrating the cultural connections between people and plants. To that end, the Visitors’ Center is LEED® Platinum certified, a first for a public building in New York City. From the inception of the project, principles of sustainability led the design process. Water, a natural element significant to all cultures, is re-introduced throughout the site, unifying building and landscape.

The Center is composed of three interconnected spaces: a forecourt and dramatic roof canopy, a central reception and administration building clad in wood and glass, and an auditorium space tucked into the landscape itself, sheltered by a sloping green roof. Additional sustainable elements include solar panels, a geothermal system, graywater and stormwater management systems and extensive use of recycled and renewable materials.

Completed in 2011, the 117-vehicle “parking garden” is composed of a variety of paving materials including permeable pavers to allow infiltration of water and parking bays interrupted by planted bioswales that manage stormwater. Nearby is a new Horticulture & Maintenance building, fabricated of pre-manufactured corrugated metal siding, cedar siding and corrugated translucent panels that maximize daylight.


Beverly Willis Foundation “Built x Women NYC”, Winning Site, 2014

Western Red Cedar Lumber Assoc., Architectural Design Honor Award, 2009

PM Engineer, Excellence in Design, 2009

AIA New York, Sustainable Design/Cultural Honor Award (Building Types Awards), 2008

AIA NYS, Award for Institutional Design, 2008

AIA NYS, Best in New York State, 2008

Chicago Athenaeum, American Architecture Award, 2008

AIA COTE, Top Green Projects, 2008

Queens Chamber of Commerce, Building Award, 2007

NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection / US EPA, Green Design Competition winner, 2004


“Origins of Green,” Oculus, June 2018

“Currents in Sustainability in the USA: New York City,” A+U: Architecture & Urbanism (print), May 2010

“AIA/COTE Top 10 Projects for 2008,” Architect magazine, June 2008

“A Garden Blooms in Queens,” Metropolis magazine, February 2008

“Measuring Green,” The Architect's Newspaper, November 2007

“Greens In Queen’s Botanical Garden Composts In The City.,” New York magazine, October 2007

“Queen’s Botanical Garden,” New York Times, September 2007

“Green Building at Queen’s Botanical Garden,” Interior Design (Online), September 2007

“City’s “Greenest” Building Opens in Queens,” New York Times, September 2007

“Green Space,” The New Yorker, September 2007

NYC Department of Design & Construction – construction administration; Stonewall Construction – general contractor; Weidlinger Associates – structural & civil; P.A. Collins – MEP; Viridian Energy & Environmental – high performance energy design consultant; Kugler Ning – lighting design; Atelier Dreiseitl – landscape architect; Conservation Design Forum – landscape consultant; Denis Gray Horticulture – green roof specialist

Photos by Jeff Goldberg/ESTO

"BKSK Architects used wit and seduction to advocate green architecture, rather than just demonstrate it. It will be a must-see among aficionados of green buildings. But by any definition, it is a terrific gift to the Queens community and all of New York City."

Scott Stefan, Queens Botanical Garden