Page E2.3. 22 July 2009                     
ArchitectureWeek - Environment Department
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  • Pelli's Platinum Visionaire

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    Pelli's Platinum Visionaire


    Green Depths

    Attached to the west side of the tower is a lower rectilinear section that fills out the block. The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy (BPCPC) is housed in the lower section of this plinth. The more-open facade encompassed within a wider terra cotta frame highlights the institutional program of the building.

    Part of the BPCPC's offices are heated and cooled by two geothermal wells. The wells are drilled 1,500 feet (460 meters) deep into the substrate below the building. Year-round ground temperatures around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) cool the circulating liquid in the summer and preheat it in the winter.

    The designers' strategy to balance luxury with sustainable elements is evident in their treatment of materials. The lobby floor is an unusual use of one-inch- (2.5-centimeter-) thick end-grain FSC-certified Douglas fir laid up like a heavy butcher's block.

    The lobby walls are two types of travertine — a material with a relatively high carbon footprint, since it uses energy to be quarried, cut, and polished, and then transported from Italy. To reduce this somewhat, the firm had the material cut thin to make it lighter, and developed a visually effective mitered corner detail. The gaps in the miter joint are filled and polished so that the stone wraps the corner and has the appearance of thicker pieces.

    That low-lying Manhattan is especially vulnerable to climate change — rising waters from warming oceans could devastate the island — should heighten the sense of local urgency to rethink the way we build, and keep raising the bar for green design, as Pelli Clarke Pelli has done in Battery Park City.

    Michael Cockram is a freelance writer and adjunct assistant professor of architecture at the University of Oregon.   More by Michael Cockram

    Project Credits

    Design Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
    Building Architect: Schuman Lichtenstein Claman & Efron
    Interior Designer: Stedila Design
    Mechanical and Electrical Engineer: Cosentini Associates
    Structural Engineer: DeSimone Consulting Engineers
    General Contractor: Turner Construction Company
    Sales and Marketing Agent: The Marketing Directors
    Creative and Advertising: dBox
    Media and Community Relations: Quinn & Co. Public Relations
    Sponsor: Battery Place Green, LLC
    Developer: Albanese Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Albanese Organization, Inc.
    Joint Venture Partner: Starwood Capital Group Global, LLC

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    ArchWeek Image

    Close-up of the terra cotta rain shield system in situ.
    Photo: Michael Cockram Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Detail axonometric section of curtain wall at spandrel panel.
    Image: Pelli Clarke Pelli Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Thermal analysis of the exterior wall at a terra cotta spandrel.
    Image: Pelli Clarke Pelli

    ArchWeek Image

    The Visionaire east-west section drawing looking north.
    Image: Pelli Clarke Pelli Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The Visionaire sixth-floor plan drawing.
    Image: Pelli Clarke Pelli Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The Visionaire 11th-floor plan drawing.
    Image: Pelli Clarke Pelli Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The Visionaire 33rd-floor plan drawing.
    Image: Pelli Clarke Pelli Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The Visionaire south and east elevation drawings.
    Image: Pelli Clarke Pelli Extra Large Image


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

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