After the Empire State Building, the nearly completed Bank of America Tower is the second-highest skyscraper in New York. Located close to Times Square, the building is the outcome of many years of collaboration between two powerful instances with common interests.
As early as the 1990s, the Bank of America had expressed the wish to create a new iconographic headquarters building in New York. Not only should it manifest its presence visually in Midtown Manhattan; the bank wished to secure the loyalty of members of the staff through the creation of first-class working conditions. In the context of growing environmental and energy awareness in the United States, the financial institution also sought to demonstrate the compatibility of economic and ecological interests with showpiece architecture based on sustainable principles.
Over a period of 40 years, the property developer Durst had bought up small areas of land between Broadway and 42nd Street to form the largest continuous building site in Manhattan (0.8 ha). Here, too, the marketing potential of sustainable construction had been recognized, and experience was gained in the erection of various “Green” buildings. Now, all the available processes and forms of technology were to be applied in a beacon project designed to a really large scale. Richard Cook and Robert Fox, two architects who specialize in sustainable forms of construction and who had collaborated with the Durst family on many occasions previously, were awarded the planning commission in 2003. By the autumn of 2008, the Bank of America Tower, with its fine-sounding address – One Bryant Park – was already half occupied. Construction work to the tip and the plinth should be completed this summer.
With its crystalline form, the structure stands out boldly against the surrounding developments. As a “signature building”, it has a high recognition value as well as the requisite iconographic presence. Over the upper two thirds of its height, the corners are splayed slightly inwards, making the volume appear lighter and more dynamic. This feature also improves the natural lighting and the quality of the air in the street space below, as well as extending the visual axes from the interior, which would normally be restricted by the typical block grid of New York. Tilting the facade slightly towards the sky also means that more daylight enters the offices. The rectangular, seven-storey plinth structure with extensive spaces for traders occupies the entire area of the block. New subway exits and a public “urban garden room” – an extension of Bryant Park diagonally opposite – create many links to the surrounding urban space.
The decision to locate the building in these exceptionally dense surroundings, thereby exploiting local public transport as a means of access, gained points in advance for the desired environmental certification. One Bryant Park is the first office tower in the US to be nominated for LEED Platinum, the highest ecological rating awarded by the American Green Building Council.
Architects: Cook + Fox Architects,
Structural engineers: Severud Associates, New York
Mechanical Engineers: Jaros, Baum & Bolles, New York
Exterior wall consultant: Israel Berger Associates, New York
Energy consultant: Viridian Energy & Environmental,LLC, New York
LEED consultant: E4, Inc, New York
BOA tenant architect: Gensler, New York
Construction: Tishman Construction Corporation