Jill Danyelle

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

Looking up at One Bryant park under construction

Inhabitat: People are still wondering if “green” is just a trend. Where it often costs more to produce green products, in terms of buildings, the energy savings seem to actually make building green more cost-effective in the long run. Were there any environmental aspects of the design that needed to be compromised due to cost?

Appel: Building green is not a trend, at least not in our minds. The idea of building green really is about building smarter, higher performing buildings which are considerate of the people who live or work in them. Like any other aspect of the building, the benefits need to be weighed against the costs. There were several items which just couldn’t be justified today. When we started the project, we were sure that there would be building-integrated photovoltaics, but the more we looked at the amount of electricity generated, the less it made sense. We also looked seriously at including a wind turbine – in fact, the building originally had two spires, one architectural and one for the wind turbine. We even set up an anemometer on top of the adjacent 4 Times Square and took a full year of wind measurements. What we discovered is that while there is sufficient “quantity” of wind, it isn’t consistent enough to make the power generated worthwhile, at least not at the current state of the technology.

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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 inhabitat.com 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 http://www.lionsledbysheep.com
    and suspense thriller ‘What if…?’

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