Recently New York’s visionary Hearst tower was honored as the winner of the prestigious 2008 International Highrise Award. Constructed by Inhabitat favorites Norman Foster and Partners, the LEED gold-certified structure showcases a stunning array of sustainable strategies that have led to it being hailed as the greenest skyscraper in the New York skyline. We got the scoop on the Hearst tower’s sustainable features at last weekend’s Net Impact conference, where Hearst Director of Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Planning Brian Schwagerl gave an in-depth look at the iconic tower’s innovative solutions.
There was an all-encompassing theme of sustainability running through last weekend’s Net Impact conference, which brought together over 1,400 MBA students and professionals to have an open conversation about sustainability and learn through discourse and discussion. At a panel entitled The Decision to Go Green: Why Leading Companies Are Seeking out Green Building, we learned that the business world is starting to take notice of the built environment as attested by the Vice President of the Liberty Property Trust, Brian Cohen, and the two Directors of Real Estate and Facilities at the Vanguard Group and the Hearst Corporation: Robert Gross and Brian Schwagerl. Hearing Schwagerl enthusiastically relay the sustainable statistics of their new Headquarters Building in New York proved that the discussion had indeed crossed a chasm into the heart of one of the US’s largest privately held corporations.
Differing from other Norman Foster + Partners projects previously showcased on Inhabitat, the Hearst Corporate Headquarters is a conflux of both old and new, combining an urban infill project with an adaptive reuse overhaul and an amazing tower rising 44 stories from the base of the original Hearst Headquarters. The tower’s most noticeable feature is its multifaceted exoskeleton, which allows for one of the most open interior space you’ll find in an office building – there are no columns obstructing the 360 degree view of the New York skyline from the interior.
Additional sustainable features proudly cited by Brian Schwagerl include the decrease in the annual carbon footprint of the building by 869 tons due to energy-efficient mechanical controls throughout the building. These include a fully automated lighting system, energy star certified appliances, and the integration of every sustainable fixture available during the year of the tower’s completion in 2006. Additionally, Over 90% of the tower’s structural steel contains recycled materials, and the building itself was constructed to use 26% less energy than the standard building code. A three-story water feature in the building’s atrium circulates rainwater collected from the roof while simultaneously cooling and humidifying the space during the summer and winter months. These along with a variety of other features have earned the tower much praise as a groundbreaking highrise and the greenest skyscraper in New York.