Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Avenue
Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates
1977; expansion: Rafael Viñoly, 2008
Despite the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s contemporary design, the institution itself is believed to be the oldest children’s museum in the country. It has been located on this site since 1899, when a mansion on this property – the William Newton Adams House – was converted into a children’s museum. It proved to be a huge hit, so at some point over the next two decades, the museum expanded into the L.C. Smith House next door. By 1967, the museum had outgrown both mansions and began planning for a new building on the site, which was completed in 1977. The current iteration of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum was mostly constructed in 2008, but its design is in fact an expansion of the 1977 structure, which was largely subterranean. The expansion, whose wavy design and primary color palette are in stark contrast to the character of the surrounding neighborhood, is clad in 8.1 million yellow ceramic tiles. The expansion roughly doubled the building’s size to 102,000 square feet.