Text description provided by the architects. This interior design project from 2006 by Cook + Fox Architects is the first LEED Platinum certified project in New York. It is an office space in one of New York City's early 20th Century skyscrapers, one that still has much of its architectural details intact, along with some new features that make it a sustainable factor within the city's urban terrain.
The office space at 641 Avenue of the Americas is inspired by the desire to create a healthy and productive work environment. Among its many features, the most prominent is the 3600 square foot rooftop garden that features drought-tolerant, low-maintenance sedum species with a flexible, nylon module system called Green Paks. The green roof contributes to reducing storm water runoff, reducing the building's cooling load and fighting the heat island effect in New York City.
The roof was a made possible by Cook + Fox volunteers that hand-laid the Green Paks and prepared plants. It also benefited from the collaboration with the Gaia Institute in which they studied water retention and growth rates of the sedums to choose those most beneficial to the environment of the rooftop garden. As part of a larger effort to inform environmental decisions among designers and architects, the Gaia Institute was also invited to test the success of various soil aggregate compositions.
This project has been used as an example by Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC campaign to advocate long-term sustainability goals, strategies and possibilities afforded by even the most urban environments. Regular tours of office give a better look at the various systems at play that make this office a healthy environment and an example of a sustainable approach to interior design.
The office has many features that contribute to its LEED Platinum status. It has an upgraded HVAC system, operable windows, low-VOC materials, and benefits from the amount of sunlight that the office gets over the course of the day. These features contribute to natural ventilation that help protect the indoor air quality year round. Water-saving strategies include waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and motion sensor lavatory faucets. These contribute to a 40% reduction in water consumption. Natural materials were also selected for the office, those which have durability, are local and have ecologically friendly features. These help the office act as an experimental zone, or "learning lab", to develop materials that are more environmentally responsible. In 2011, the interior design made it on the AIA's Interiors Merit Winners.