A play boosts our mind with entranced zeal. Architecture defines that expedition in concerted ways. NEST, an interactive sculptural playscape designed by Tri-Lox, explores the rooftop terrace at Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) in Crown Heights. The unique nests of the baya weaver bird inspired the designers to weave the NEST. The woven patterns trail from reclaimed NYC water tower wood, twisted and splayed into an organic form, knitting a playable landscape with a climbable exterior, circular hammock area, and permeable interior space for open and creative exploration.
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The designers at Tri-Lox explored the museum’s educational assemblage and scooped an idea to interlace a series of well-preserved bird nests. One nest, in particular, made by the baya weaver bird, offers an inspiring shell intricately woven with volumes twisting and lacing to form rooms, tunnels, and many entrances.
Their idea took shape into a climbable playscape that maintains the natural materiality of the nest and voices an iconic design story in the vertical urban habitat–the NYC rooftop water tower. NEST integrates a novel focal point on the BCM rooftop, completing a multi-year capital project representing several established and respected voices in architectural design. The building was initially designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects in striking yellow shades, later a pavilion by Toshiko Mori Architect encouraged a sense of place for a community gathering. The 20,000 square foot rooftop was then connected to Brower Park below with a mini-woodland, boardwalk, and plantings installed by landscape architects Future Green Studio.
NEST weaves a footprint of 1,800 square feet, offering the Museum visitors, children, and caregivers, a place to play, climb and explore the surrounding nature, even in the urban environment. BCM commissioned Tri-Lox through a request for proposals in mid-2017. The design and fabrication studio invoked reclaimed materials such as cedar from their Skyline collection, reinstating the water tower wood to the rooftop setting in a distinct form in order to perform an organic form with parametric design tools harmonized with fine craftsmanship.
By the shared priority of weaving a communal space that can serve children at various ages and stages of their growth, NEST undertakes the Museum’s priorities and exposes a climbable and iconic play structure. Pushing the design strategies even further to incorporate contemporary models of play and development. The organic form of baya weaver nest exudes and depicts the philosophies around non-prescriptive play, embarking an open experience, offering new challenges, and ideally bringing them back to the Museum to learn from its gyrating exhibitions that expand upon its assortment.
Area: 1800 ft²
Photographs: Arion Doerr
Structural Engineer: Laufs Engineering Design
Clients: Brooklyn Children’’ Museum
Play Safety Consultant: G2 Collaborative
Lead Designers: Alexander Bender, Ellis Isenberg, Tim Knight
Location: Brooklyn, USA