All are welcome here. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a source of social equity. It is as much a community center, daycare center, education center, entertainment venue, and public library, providing opportunities for learning and forming unexpected family bonding. The auditorium is central to the driving spirit of this legendary place.
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Gold 🏆 Winner
Global Future Design Awards 2023
Brooklyn Children’s Museum Auditorium
Cultural Architecture (Built)
Wendy E Joseph
Wendy Evans Joseph, Principal Connie Wu, Project Manager Wonwoo Park, Designer
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The design is an architecturally dynamic insertion into a pre-existing shell that is aesthetically surprising and technically clever. Made possible by the inventive addition of a balcony, it is a playful, robust, and fully accessible community space.
Curving white panels shingle along the walls and sloping ceiling, seamlessly integrating mechanical systems, sprinklers, theatrical spots, and acoustic treatment.
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is inspired by the energy and diversity of its community. They create experiences that ignite curiosity, celebrate identity, and cultivate joyful learning. Founded in 1899 as the world’s first children’s museum, the institution supports families. The auditorium provides the venue for a wide array of programs and events central to the museum’s mission. With its robust materiality, the theater’s architecture supports many opportunities, reaching schools and neighborhoods in need.
The space features illuminated, warping, white panels that shingle along the walls and sloping ceiling, creating light ribs. The museum asked us to capture the joyful spirit of the families they serve with a bold, practical, yet playful design. They asked for robust materiality and a mature, comfortable atmosphere to embrace the full latitude of the institution’s theatrical intentions for programs, films, and lectures to varied constituencies. It’s not just for kids.
A series of staggered panels line the interior. They slope in two directions forming an integrated, visually clean space that focuses the eye on performance. We seamlessly incorporated air supply, fire sprinkler systems, and a sound-dampening acoustical treatment into each panel. Full-color LED lighting recessed into the coves between panels conveys a playful, modern twist on a classic motif. Vibrant purple upholstery provides an enjoyable pop of color.
During construction, the design team had to resolve mechanical issues and material failures related to the existing infrastructure. Coupled with Covid delays and limited public resources, we were still able to meet the budget through collaboration and careful management. The project maintains LEED Silver designation for the museum.