Earlier this week, the Norman Foster-designed Hearst Tower became the first LEED for New Construction Gold-certified commercial office building in New York City to subsequently earn Platinum under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance rating system. Tishman Speyer, which manages the building in cooperation with Hearst, put the building through a three-month performance period in connection with the -EB: OM application: since 2006, total annual energy consumption has dropped by 40 percent and water usage by 30 percent.
Located at the corner of West 57th Street and 8th Avenue, the 597-foot Hearst Tower is home to the eponymous publisher and is the first building in New York City whose columns stand entirely along diagonal lines. Certainly one of the most distinctive late-2000s additions to the Manhattan skyline, the tower’s design also saved approximately 2,000 tons of structural steel (compared with a more traditional, vertical perimeter column configuration.) So only ten percent of the building’s steel is new: ninety percent was recycled. Its lobby atrium – which features a waterfall and radiant underfloor cooling system – occupies the entirety of the original 1928 building, which was gutted. The floor area (for zoning code purposes) that remodeled floors would have occupied in the 1928 building was transferred to the new Hearst Tower, and led to the creation of the cathedral-like six story atrium space.
The layout of the floors at the Hearst Tower also allows light to penetrate deep into the core of the building. Sensors in each office automatically dim lights when occupants leave and, depending on the time of day, adjust the amount of light that a particular fixture will emit. The corners of the building are cut out, not for any structural purpose, but to add a unique design element to the building and provide dramatic views from the interior towards both Central Park and Midtown.