INTERVIEW: Serge Appel Talks to Inhabitat About One Bryant Park

by , 02/16/11

Serge Appel + One Bryant Park, one bryant park, bank of america tower, bank of america building, cook+fox, serge appel, eco green building, green skyscraper, green architecture, sustainable design, sustainability, green building, green design, eco design, sustainable design, inhabitat interview

New York City’s 1 Bryant Park building (also known as the Bank of America building) is the greenest skyscraper in the world and Inhabitat was fortunate enough to have the chance to speak with lead architect on the project Serge Appel of Cook+Fox Architects, who helped it reach that illustrious distinction. The glossy glass structure towering over Midtown Manhattan racks up the green points with rainwater cachement and reuse, greywater recycling, recycled and sustainable building materials, energy efficient building systems, and high performance glass which maximizes daylighting and minimizes solar heat gain and loss. Read on for our interview with lead architect on the project, Serge Appel to learn more about the design of this fascinating green building.

one bryant park, bank of america tower, bank of america building, cook+fox, serge appel, eco green building, green skyscraper, gree architecture, sustainable design, sustainability

Inhabitat: One Bryant Park is the first LEED platinum “skyscraper”; what is your favorite LEED aspect of the project? Aside from LEED, what was the most interesting or exciting part of the project for you?

Appel: For me, the best part of this project isn’t a single element or technology but rather the chance to work with an incredible team of dedicated professionals all driven by the same goal. Having the backing of the Bank of America and the Durst Organization has made a tremendous difference in setting the bar high in terms of sustainable design. On top of that, each consultant on the team is top notch and fully engaged with the project.

Inhabitat: What was your least favorite or the most difficult thing about the project?

Appel: Certainly the most difficult part of this project has been the intense and detailed coordination required for such a large and complex building. The vast majority of that has far less to do with the green elements than with the requirements of a major banking institution being built in the middle of midtown Manhattan post 9/11.

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  1. iZerreg March 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    The National Geographic series ‘Megastructures’ did a special on One Bryant Park titled ‘Ultimate Skyscraper NYC’. In it, they project the annual maintenance costs of this building to be 50% less than a structure built the usual way, meaning “without green technology”; but of equal size and similar location/climate. They also mention a $60,000,000 price tag for the additional green features that ultimately did make it into the final structure.
    As for your question about the urinals? During the article, architect Serge Appel was asked about them and gave this answer “Instead of flushing, the urinals have a special drain fitted with a cartridge full of a liquid less dense than urine, which “floats” on top and seals out odors. Like all urinals, they have to be regularly maintained and cleaned and the cartridge has to be changed on occasion.” There you have it. No smell, regular (daily) cleaning, which takes care of the splashing just as it does with a flushable urinal.

  2. Steve N. Lee October 3, 2008 at 2:56 am

    I like the ‘ice cubes’ idea. It’s not exactly revolutionary, but it’s great it’s been incorporated into such a big construction project. I’m a little surprised at the news on solar and especially on wind power.

    Waterless urinals? I’ve seen them mentioned in other articles, but… men are notorious for splashing it about! If there’s no water to rinse down the full length of the urinal, merely some form of collection unit in the bottom, how often does it have to be cleaned to avoid smelling?

    The news on rain water and grey water is great – both sadly neglected areas usually when it comes to new builds.

    It is great to see a building that is being built to such exacting green standards. I sincerely hope it inspires others to follow suit.

    However, the one question I wanted answered, having read the previous article on this building, is on cost. It’s hinted at here but no actual figures are given. I’d like to have seen some stats on how much this building actually cost, plus the expected savings from its green technology, compared to how much a comparably sized skyscraper would cost without all the green technology. Basically, is this one cheaper in the long run? If so, then where is the argument for all buildings not to be built like this? If it’s more expensive, then what government initiatives could be implemented to offset some of those costs for the sake of the environment?

    Steve N. Lee
    author of eco-blog
    and suspense thriller ‘What if…?’

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