Bob Fox, a founder of COOKFOX Architects in New York, and a principal of Terrapin Bright Green, an environmental consulting and strategic planning firm committed to improving the human environment through high performance development, policy, and related research, has long been dedicated to the principles of biophilic design. COOKFOX was the architect of Manhattan’s iconic Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park—the first commercial high rise building to receive LEED Platinum certification. And the firm “walks the green talk” in the design of its own offices. Its LEED-CI Platinum certified space at 641 Avenue of the Americas in New York serves as a showcase that reflects the firm’s studio culture and its commitment to sustainability, as well as its vision for the future of biophilic design.
The light-filled studio—in the penthouse of a former department store in the Ladies Mile Historic District—features and open floor plan, 14-ft. ceilings, and original column and ceiling details from the early 1900s. Daylight fills the interior space through a sweeping curve of 9-ft. windows that offer breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, including many of the city’s most iconic buildings. An upgraded HVAC system, operable windows, and low-VOC materials provide natural ventilation and high indoor air quality. The interiors palette gives priority to natural, local, and eco-friendly materials.
A 3,600-sq.-ft. roof garden is the office’s strongest biophilic element and is visible from nearly every work area. The green roof, planted with drought-tolerant, low maintenance sedum species, reduces stormwater runoff, decreases the building’s cooling load, and houses an apiary with over 50,000 Italian bees. Three COOKFOX staffers who are amateur beekeepers tend the colony.
All of these sustainable features serve as the backdrop for regular office tours and a monthly environmental lecture series.