A new tower rising on Roosevelt Island will soon be making history as the world's tallest Passive House building. Designed by Handel Architects and developed in partnership with the Hudson Companies, the ultra-sustainable Cornell Tech residential tower will provide high-quality housing for students and faculty on the school's new Roosevelt Island campus, and is expected to take the title of the world's first residential high-rise Passive House when complete. Inhabitat had a chance to take a private tour of the still under-construction 26-story building this morning - come along with us to take a sneak peek.
Cornell Tech Residential will join three other buildings (The Bloomberg Center, The Bridge at Cornell Tech and a central utility plant that will supply the campus’ electrical needs) to comprise Phase 1 of the overall Cornell Tech Campus plan.
The first-of-its-kind tower will provide on-campus housing for Cornell Tech students and faculty, but will also serve as a reflection of the school’s underlying philosophy as well as a model for future sustainable buildings.
“We wanted to make this building as innovative as we could so that it took on the personality of the [Cornell Tech] campus goals and the academic goals. The academic goals are a new type of graduate education and it’s all about innovation and all about commercialization, so we wanted to make sure that the campus itself sung in that same kind of way. All of our buildings have a unique element and the Passive House element of this building is incredibly exciting,” Jennifer Klein of Cornell Tech told us at today’s tour.
“When we started the concept design phase, we familizarized ourselves with the concept of Passive House and bringing it here to a large scale building the size of which has not been done before in the US or abroad and we were really excited about this challenge because the University is all about innovation and technology,” said Arianna Sacks Rosenberg, Senior Project Manager at The Hudson Companies. “We felt that bringing this type of ssutainabilty to the residential sector could be really exciting and that this building could be a focal point to move the needle of how we develop and build buildings in this city.”
The 270-foot-tall tower will house 352 units (536 beds) in 272,000 square feet over 26 floors, and was designed to adhere to the Passive House standard, which focuses on the use of airtight building envelopes in order to achieve a 60- to 70-percent energy usage reduction compared to traditionally constructed buildings. Considered one of the most stringent sustainability standards in the world, Passive House also emphasizes a healthier and more comfortable environment for occupants, as well as substantial energy cost savings.
“The standard is designed so that it promotes the durability of the building and the comfort of the residents, which results in dramatic energy savings relative to standard construction pracitces, and the way that it accomplishes that is by focusing on very tight, air-sealed exterior facades that are very robustly insulated, windows that perform, from a thermal persepective, much better than a typical American window, and we provide fresh ventilation here to each habitable space in the building, whereas in typical construction, ventilation in residential multi-family is primarily driven by exhausting stale air from the building. Passive House wants you to balance the supply of fresh air exactly against the exhaust of fresh air,” explained Luke Falk, Assistant Vice President at The Related Companies.
An innovative system of prefabricated metal panels was used to ensure better quality and faster, more efficient installation. The panels, which are pre-fitted with triple-glazed windows made in Italy, were fabricated in Pennsylvania and then shipped to the Roosevelt Island site via barge.
Cornell Tech Residential will also be able to generate energy on-site through geothermal systems and solar energy, and is projected to save 882 tons of CO2 (the equivalent of planting 5,300 new trees) per year.
Students and faculty will be able to select from four different types of apartments: micro studios, 1-bedrooms, 2-bedrooms and 3-bedrooms.
Residents will also be able to enjoy a recreation space on the top floor with a kitchen, dining area, game room and sweeping views of Manhattan and Queens.
The Cornell Tech Residential building is slated to open in the summer of 2017 and is expected to officialy be recognized as the world’s tallest Passive House building once it achieves certification from the Passive House Institute.