ML: Gold Weeksville Heritage Center by Caples Jefferson Breaks Ground in Bed-Stuy

The 19,000-square-foot, $19.5 million Weeksville Heritage Center was designed by architects Caples Jefferson and will seek a LEED Gold rating at 1698 Bergen Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Pamela Green, executive director of the Weeksville Heritage Society, along with other Brooklyn and city leaders, broke ground in a ceremony last Wednesday on a new 19,000-square-foot educational and cultural center at 1698 Bergen Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The $19.5 million Weeksville Heritage Center, designed by architects Caples Jefferson, will seek a LEED Gold rating from USGBC. “It is a most fantastic building, and the most exciting building that is going to happen in Central Brooklyn,” said Green.

Weeksville- now known as Bedford-Stuyvesant- was an African-American community that began in Brooklyn in 1838 as a refuge for slaves fleeing the South, as well as northern blacks. The Hunterfly Road Houses, which are now located on Bergen Street and were landmarked back in 1970, date back from that time and are the only remaining structures from Weeksville (note them towards the right of the image). A path through an intentionally interpretive landscaped setting leads visitors out of the main space and on towards the Houses. The Center itself is designed in an African vernacular; Caples Jefferson specified materials that echo African weaving patterns, including the purple and green slate that you can see on the base of the main building.

Other than presumably LEED-standard features, specific green design elements at the Center have yet to be unveiled. When completed in 2010, the Center will quadruple Weeksville’s current programming space and include offices, an exhibition gallery, a 200-seat concert hall, and classrooms and a resource center for students. The project team also includes Elizabeth Kennedy Landscape Architects, structural engineers Severud Associates, and M/E/P engineers Joseph Loring, with construction management services from Hill International.

ML is short for our weekly Monday LEEDoff™ column, which typically profiles a different LEED project generally in (but not limited to) the New York City area. You can access an archive of profiled projects via this link.

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