The Dr. S. Stevan Dweck Cultural Center is a masterplan renovation and expansion of the Brooklyn Public Library’s auditorium and adjacent lobby spaces at its flagship, central location in Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York, USA.
BVA's design for the Dweck looks towards the building’s hidden past to empower its future. While the Library is known for its landmarked, modernist facade, completed in 1941, the building was originally designed and partially constructed as a neoclassical building. Thus, the subterranean Dweck sits in a liminal space: sunk beneath pre-war modernism, wrapped in neoclassicism, and with an eye towards 21st century programming.
The design is characterized by expanding the current performance space’s envelope to the edge of the concrete foundation. The exposure of the idiosyncratically shaped, concentric foundation quite literally wraps the Dweck with history, exposing the building’s hidden neoclassical past.
The design then inserts a sculptural canopy that hovers between and frames these two histories, while housing the technological infrastructure required of a contemporary performance space.
Combining multiple histories with new technological infrastructure and formal expression, the project creates a unique spatial identity for the Dweck and allows it to drive the future of free and accessible performance for the mission-based nonprofit.