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The High-Performance High-Rise

The High-Performance High-Rise
Reported by
Christine Van Lenten

Posted October 15, 2009


On October 25, 2005, architect Bob Fox of Cook+Fox architects presented a sneak peak at the Bank of America building at One Bryant Park, a skyscraper under construction in midtown New York City. One Bryant Park was the first new skyscraper to be recognized with "platinum" status by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system.

Fox described a number of strategies the building designers used to reach this achievement, and to make Bryant Park a healthy environment for its inhabitants. Innovations include on-site electricity generation, capture of heat energy most power plants treat as waste, collection of rainwater for use in toilets and cooling systems, use of materials in ways that minimize CO2 emissions, and filtering of the building's air supply to remove particulate matter, among others.

Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.

Reading Room

Cook+Fox, Architects. 2005. One Bryant Park. (PDF, 37 KB) FULL TEXT
The project fact sheet.

Cook+Fox, Architects. 2005. The High-Performance High-Rise in New York City. (PDF, 25 KB) FULL TEXT
Valuable background on green high-rise efforts in Manhattan.

Brown, M., F. Southworth & T. Stovall. 2005. Towards a Climate-Friendly Built Environment. Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Arlington, VA. FULL TEXT
Prepared at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

Web Sites

American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
This nonprofit works to advance energy efficiency, including energy-efficient buildings.

American Institute of Architects
The New York Chapter, AIA's oldest and largest, has a committee on the environment that promotes the dual goals of design and sustainability.

Battery Park City Authority
This New York State public benefit corporation was formed to plan, create, coordinate, and maintain a balanced community of commercial, residential, retail, and park space within a 92-acre site in Manhattan. The nation's first green residential high-rise building, the Solaire, was built there, under groundbreaking residential environmental guidelines developed under Bob Fox's leadership.

The Durst Organization
This family-owned company, which develops real estate in midtown Manhattan, is partnering with Bank of America to develop One Bryant Park. Its web pages on the project are rich in images and information.

Interface Sustainability
Interface is a global company that manufactures floor coverings and fabrics for commercial interiors. It is committed to "the goal of sustainability and doing business in ways that minimize the impact on the environment while enhancing shareholder value." Its Web site helps to clarify the concept of sustainability.

New York City Office of Sustainable Design
New York's Department of Design and Construction offers information and tools for department managers, consultants, and client agencies, to "ease the transition to sustainability at DDC." Legislation (PDF, KB) requiring that most new and substantially renovated city-owned buildings costing more than $2 million meet green standards will take effect in 2007.

SustainLane is "dedicated to identifying, educating, and connecting cities, residents, and businesses striving to create a healthier and more sustainable life." It ranks U.S. cities on a sustainability scale; informative text accompanies the list.

U.S. Department of Energy
The High Performance Buildings initiative aims to improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings, through collaboration with researchers at national laboratories, building owners, contractors, private sector engineers, architects, and parties involved in commercial building construction. The goal is to reduce energy consumption while improving buildings' quality, occupant comfort, and cost-effectiveness. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory also supports R&D into high-performance buildings.

U.S. Green Building Council
This coalition of U.S. building industry leaders promotes buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work. It awards Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification to commercial buildings on the basis of "state of the art strategies for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality." The One Bryant Park project aspires to platinum, the highest rating. But see, too, a critique of LEED published in Grist on Oct. 26, 2005.


Robert F. Fox, Jr.

Cook + Fox Architects
email | web site

In 2003 Bob Fox joined with Richard Cook to form Cook + Fox Architects, a firm devoted to creating environmentally responsible, high-performance buildings. Winner of the 2002 Urban Visionary Award from The Cooper Union, Fox has produced work featured in exhibitions and publications internationally.

A founding partner of Fox & Fowle Architects, Fox guided that firm to national leadership in the design of sustainable high-rise buildings and urban design. Under his direction it completed more than 30 major projects in New York City, among them the influential Four Times Square—Condé Nast headquarters, which set new standards for energy-efficient, high-rise buildings. It received the coveted National Honor Award and the Excellence in Design Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Fox directed a team that created the Residential and Commercial Environmental Guidelines for the Battery Park City Authority, which controls a 92-acre site in Manhattan. He has been a guest lecturer at many institutions and has taught at Cornell, Yale, and Harvard's Graduate School of Design. The State of Connecticut has cited "his exemplary efforts to promote clean energy."

Fox served on the advisory board of Cornell's College of Architecture, Art and Planning and was Chair of the Van Alen Institute. He serves on the advisory board for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, Green Ground Zero, the board of De La Salle Academy, the "Green Team" for Interface Corporation, and the AIA. He was founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council/N.Y. Chapter and co-chair of the Sustainable Design Committee of the Real Estate Board of New York.

Fox received his Masters of Architecture from Harvard.

Christine Van Lenten

Christine Van Lenten has written about public policy issues and technical and scientific subjects for federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private sector firms.