Gallery: Gensler’s Super Sustainable Tower at PNC Plaza Breaks Ground i...

Working closely with PNC, the team centered their design strategies around a "three pillar" approach: energy conservation, organizational productivity, and community contribution.

PNC Financial Services is known for pushing the boundaries of sustainable design; the group already boasts one of the largest living walls on the exterior of One PNC Plaza and has 170 LEED certified projects throughout the country. Their newest project, the Tower at PNC Plaza is expected to push even further and features an innovative, low-energy strategy to heat and cool the building. Architectural design was led by Gensler, with aid from Buro Happold for engineering and Paladino & Co for green design consulting. Working closely with PNC, the team centered their design strategies around a “three pillar” approach: energy conservation, organizational productivity, and community contribution.

The 32-story tower is grouped into “neighborhoods” with a pair of floors that features a double-height atrium that serves as a “town square” for employees to foster collaboration and a sense of community. PNC is devoted to revitalization of downtown Pittsburgh and the podium and ground floor design seeks to support a vibrant urban district. The tower’s orientation maximizes on daylighting and a high performance, double-skinned facade encourages natural ventilation. Operable windows on the facade open on days with optimal conditions (which occurs almost half of the year), and allows the building “breath” by taking in fresh air from the outside and expelling hot air out the top. The angled roof acts as a solar collector to further encourage a cooling effect. The iconic tower is set to serve as a new landmark for the city and propel green design even further. With construction underway and on schedule, the project is expected to be complete in 2015.

+ Gensler Update on the Tower at PNC Plaza

Images ©Gensler


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  1. PGHPA611 February 6, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I am very appreciative that Jim Rohr continues to be Pittsburgh’s Premiere Corporate Citizen. His investment in our city has been incredible, however I am dissapointed that Pittsburgh’s PNC Tower didn’t hit 648′. With the incredible growth of PNC, I was hoping that more emphasis would of been placed on a height that would allowed this impressive building to jump out from the city skyline.
    I feel that this was truly a missed opportunity for PNC to be a prominant fixture in our skyline.

  2. Jack Urbani November 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Great to see this. I have watched the transformation of 5th Avenue and always hoped something spectacular for this unique and pivotal site. I always hope for 10 stories taller but it’s great to see. hope they give the base the attntion it deserves, being the heart of a great shopping district. Pittsburgh has a wonderful downtown.

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