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Thread: The Solaire - 20 River Terrace - Battery Park City - by Pelli Clarke Pelli

  1. #1

    Default The Solaire - 20 River Terrace - Battery Park City - by Pelli Clarke Pelli

    October 15, 2002
    A Look at the Future of Residential Buildings

    In the nerdy world of green construction, 20 River Terrace was already an address with a big reputation — even before everything changed.

    The building, begun early last year just a few blocks from the World Trade Center, was to be the world's most environmentally correct residential high-rise, its developers said — an air-purified, solar-paneled monument to the marriage of mother earth and technological gee-whiz.

    Now as construction resumes after a 10-month break during the cleanup of ground zero, the 27-story tower has become even more than the sum of its ambitions, builders and environmentalists say.

    When the job started, Lower Manhattan was pretty much a finished product, and 20 River Terrace, for all its departures from the norm, was just another building. Now the city is gripped by a debate over what to rebuild at ground zero and what future to envision.

    Environmental awareness among residents, office workers and employers was sharply elevated by the dust from the twin towers' collapse and the lingering smoke from their ruins. A regional drought put new value on water conservation. And the linkage of Middle Eastern oil and the financing of terror gave solar power new life, environmentalists say, because using alternative fuels can now be considered an act of political defiance.

    The biggest single element that has changed, development experts say, is that in Lower Manhattan, thinking beyond the old boundaries is now in fashion, and right there, on downtown's front porch, is Exhibit A of how to do it.

    "To have a sustainable building going up in an area that was a target of a terror attack is a very powerful thing," said Richard Florida, a professor of regional economic development at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and an adviser to the Regional Plan Association, which is helping put together a new design for downtown. "I think there's a great possibility that this example will trigger things even more imaginative on the part of architects or designers."

    Other planners and environmentalists say that 20 River Terrace and the set of environmental construction standards created by the Battery Park City Authority, which oversees the building project, are already leading the way. The construction resumed in July and completion is expected next spring. The authority, a state-chartered agency developing the landfill areas of Lower Manhattan (which were largely created by the excavation for the trade center in the late 1960's) had planned a series of green residential towers long before Sept. 11.

    "The philosophy is that if you create a healthier building, you make people healthier," said Timothy S. Carey, the president and chief executive of the authority.

    No matter what philosophical effect 20 River Terrace has or does not have on downtown, developers say, it is also very much a prototype that must work on its own, in engineering and financial terms. Although New York is already home to what is considered the nation's first environmentally green high-rise office tower, the Condé Nast building at 4 Times Square in Midtown, apartment buildings have very different issues and patterns of use, from the peaks of power demand to the far higher volumes of water use.

    The skeleton of 20 River Terrace has twice as many water pipes and air ducts in its apartments as a conventional high-rise residential building. Each apartment will have its own dedicated air supply — filtered and humidified — and a separate water line just for flushing the toilets with treated waste water piped up from the treatment plant in the basement. There are also pipes leading to and from a 10,000-gallon rainwater collection tank that will be used to water the rooftop garden, which is intended to reduce the building's radiant heat and energy loss.

    "The interesting thing is that it's forcing us to develop innovative ways of building in a sustainable fashion at appropriate costs," said Martin Dettling, a vice president at the Albanese Development Corporation and the project manager. "Our lenders want the building to be financially sustainable, too."

    To meet the Battery Park guidelines and also qualify for a green building tax credit created by New York State earlier this year, 20 River Terrace must use 35 percent less energy than a similar-sized structure built under the standard construction codes. Building materials must follow a complex formula establishing their percentage of recycled content, and there must be affidavits and a paper trail to prove it. At least 40 percent of components must be manufactured no farther than 500 miles from the job site, to hold down air pollution from long-distance truck transportation.

    Jumping through all those hoops at once required compromise and constant calculation, contractors said. How the solar-energy collectors on the building's exterior changed their color midway through the project tells that tale.

    The original design specified black photovoltaic panels — running halfway up the tower's southwest side. The subcontractor found a Delaware supplier, within the 500-mile limit, who was making solar panels out of recycled silicon, using chips discarded by the computer industry. Using the Delaware supplier would thus get two benefits for one in meeting the rules — more recycled content, close enough — but there was a problem. The solar panels would have to be blue, not black.

    So the exterior design changed. Blue it was.

    There were some culture clashes, too.

    Anthony O. Pereira, a former organizer for Greenpeace who now develops alternative energy systems and whose business cards say they are printed with soy ink on recycled paper, vividly recalls making his first presentations to the general contractor, the Turner Corporation, a big, old-line firm that has been building New York skyscrapers for more than 100 years.

    "The first few meetings were very intimidating," Mr. Pereira said, "but we decided that if we worked twice as hard, we could still earn their respect."

    Other construction experts say Sept. 11 also raised the profile for green construction by illuminating how incredibly expensive it is to put in water and electricity and sewer systems once they have been destroyed.

    "If you use less energy and less water and you're putting less water out as waste, then you don't have to think about the big things like putting more pipes in and more wires, and the political and economic implications of that are enormous," said William D. Browning, a senior consultant at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit group in Snowmass, Colo., that works on resource efficiency issues.

    Green buildings are designed to depend less on water and energy resources; 20 River Terrace, for example, will use a third less water than a typical tower of 293 apartments. It will also generate about 5 percent of its own electricity through solar collectors and use natural gas for its air-conditioning system, which, developers say, will help avoid summertime electricity price spikes.

    Mr. Dettling, the project manager at 20 River Terrace, said that in watching the building rise, he is seeing another payoff as well: a growing expertise in how to make it all work. "First there's resistance to new things, then acceptance," he said. "Then competition kicks in, and you get innovation, efficiency and cost savings."

  2. #2

    Default 20 River Terrace

    Battery Park North and the construction of 20 River Terrace on 14 September 2002, with Pier 32.

    Battery Park City and 20 River Terrace under construction. on the left - Empire State Building and mini-me, 500 Fifth Avenue.

  3. #3

    Default 20 River Terrace

    I'm not sure how tall 500 5th is, but I'm sure that it's not _that_ small compared to ESB. *It's got to be the camera angle. *After all, the ESB is closer, being on 34th st. vs 500 5th on 42nd.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    NYC - Hoboken

    Default 20 River Terrace

    I think when Edward was referring to Mini me he meant 425 5th Ave which is still under construction. *Its height is expected to be 618ft. *500 5th Ave is the Salmon tower built in 1930, its height is 697ft.

  5. #5

    Default 20 River Terrace

    I was commenting on the way ESB and 500 Fifth look from the point the picture was taken. Designed by the same architect, 500 Fifth looks like mini-ESB without a spire.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    NYC - Hoboken

    Default 20 River Terrace

    Ahh, sorry about that. *There have been referrals to 425 as mini-me in the past on this forum so I assumed that is what you were refering to.

  7. #7

    Default 20 River Terrace

    Construction of 20 River Terrace with the green crown of 40 Wall above and World Financial Center on 27 October 2002. The green crown of Woolworth Building on the left.

  8. #8

    Default 20 River Terrace

    I like this building - it seems to be designed with form and function in mind. Anyone know what else is going to be going up on the northern, undeveloped plots of Battery Park City?

    Oh yeah, the pictures are great....even with something missing from the last one :-( .

  9. #9

    Default 20 River Terrace

    Construction of 20 River Terrace in Battery Park North. 9 March 2003.

  10. #10

    Default 20 River Terrace

    Intersting building. I read the article the day it was on the newspaper. It's the future of residential buildings.

  11. #11
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village

    Default 20 River Terrace

    This shot shows it's gentle curve.

  12. #12

    Green Living in Battery Park City

    April 18, 2003

    The lush trees and flower-filled waterfront won't be the only green things in Battery Park City this spring; rising just 62 feet from the Hudson River is the nation's first environmentally responsible high-rise residential building, the Solaire. Scheduled for completion in May, the structure may well represent the future of "green" living, both in Lower Manhattan and in other American cities.

    The 27-story luxury residential tower at 20 River Terrace will feature 293 units averaging about 1,100 square feet in size. Engineered to be earth-friendly, the Solaire will consume 35 percent less energy and conserve 50 percent more water than traditional residential buildings. It will also provide high indoor air quality and an abundance of natural light.

    "This building… is making history for New York and the nation," said Timothy S. Carey, president and CEO of the Battery Park City Authority(BPCA).

    In 2000, Albanese Development Corporation, of Garden City, N.Y., was selected to develop the Solaire in accordance with BPCA's "green guidelines." In laying out a set of environmentally progressive standards and practices, the Authority sought to encourage the construction of a building that could serve as a model for future urban development.
    "We are honored to have been selected developer of a property that we believe will set the standard for responsible building across the nation," said Russell Albanese, president of Albanese Development. "Twenty River Terrace will give to New York a building that not only contributes to the well-being of the environment, but also to the healthfulness of its residents."

    For its work on the Solaire, Albanese Development was selected by the board of Earth Day New York and the Natural Resources Defense Council to receive the 2003 Environmental Business Leadership Award. The two organizations called the Solaire "a shining symbol for the future of downtown;" and will present the award on April 21, when Earth Week kicks off at Grand Central Station.

    "We are very pleased to be able to acknowledge the Albanese Development Corporation for [its] leadership in the real estate industry," said Pamela Lippe, executive director of Earth Day New York. "Even faced with 9/11, they stayed the course and continued development of the Solaire without any cutbacks to its green features -- for that alone they deserve enormous recognition."

    Among the Solaire's resource-efficient features are sun-absorbing, or photovoltaic, cells that will generate five percent of the building's electric load; fresh air and filtered water for every apartment, and storm and waste reclamation systems. (To learn more about these green features, visit Earth Fair 2003, held at Grand Central Station on Saturday, April 26, and Sunday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
    The building, which will open to residents this summer, was promoted by the U.S. Department of Energy at the Sustainable Building 2002 Conference in Oslo, Norway, as a global model for green multifamily design and construction.

    One financial incentive to "build green" comes in the form of a state tax credit, enacted in January 2001 to encourage the construction and rehabilitation of environmentally sound buildings. And advocates suggest that green construction will save money for building operators in the long run.

    "While the first cost of a green building is higher than the first cost of a conventional building, we intend to demonstrate to the construction world that such a cost will be offset by energy savings within a relatively short period of time," said BPCA Chairman James F. Gill in his remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony in June 2001. "If the cost of building and operating a green building is relatively the same as building and operating a conventional building, why would anyone build a conventional building?"

  13. #13


    The Solaire
    Location: 20 River Terrace, Battery Park North
    Telephone: (212) 748-6100
    Wired New York: 20 River Terrace
    Wired New York Forum: The Solaire

    Floorplan for Two Bedroom
    Floors 20-Penthouse: Residence D

    The Solaire in Battery Park North. 8 July 2003.

  14. #14

  15. #15

    Default Solaire feedback appreciated

    I am thinking about renting at the Solaire and was wondering if anyone has any positive/negative opinons of actually living there. I've read all about the "green" features but have they thrifted in other ways to offset the green costs (e.g., poor sound insulation between units, lower quality fixtures, etc...)? Thank you in advance for your feedback.

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