Advocates for excellence in the urban environment

We cherish cultural vitality.

We believe that smart public design is essential to nourishing New York’s cultural vitality.

Brooklyn’s Weeksville Heritage Center, completed in 2013, is a powerful example of design’s role in celebrating the city’s diverse cultural heritage. Built with more than $35 million in capital funding allocated by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, this site reveals the African-American history of its Crown Heights neighborhood while affirming the community’s present-day cultural dynamism.

At the heart of the center is an interpretive landscape that preserves historic structures from a 19th-century settlement of freed slaves, wrapped by a stunning building designed by Caples Jefferson Architects offering new spaces for exhibitions, performance, research, and education. The subtle use of African art and patterns enliven the site, including a Percent for Art commission designed by artist Chakaia Booker, while Elizabeth J. Kennedy’s landscape design highlights a former Native American footpath as another layer of this ever-evolving cultural canvas.

The Weeksville Heritage Center was honored with a 2005 Design Excellence award from the New York City Public Design Commission, a tribute to the project’s community-minded mission to bring the past and present into lively conversation.

Photo Credit: Caples Jefferson Architects