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New Skyscraper Stars in National Geographic Show

November 5, 2008

By C. J. Hughes

Image © Cook+Fox; courtesy dbox for Cook+Fox
National Geographic Television is featuring the Bank of America Tower (top image, right of center) in an upcoming show. Designed by Cook + Fox, the tower will be New York City�s second tallest skyscraper.
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New York’s second tallest skyscraper is getting its own television show, at least for one evening. On Thursday, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time, National Geographic Television will air a one-hour documentary about The Bank of America Tower, a 54-story glass-and-steel high-rise designed by Cook + Fox that is nearing completion in Midtown Manhattan.

At about 1,200 feet (the building is 945 feet tall; its spire adds another 255 feet), the tower stands just shy of the Empire State Building, which rises 1,450 feet, including its antenna. The Chrysler Building, in the number-three spot, is 1,046 feet tall, according to New York’s Skyscraper Museum.

But height won’t be the focus of the show. Instead, it will mostly examine the tower’s “green” aspects, as the architects intend for it to be one of the most eco-friendly office buildings on the planet. To wit: An onsite co-generation energy system will supply two-thirds of the building’s energy, says Cook + Fox partner Rick Cook, AIA. Also, elevators use a destination dispatch system, which helps prevent trips with empty cars. And urinals throughout the building will be waterless—a measure that will save 3 million gallons of water a year, according to Cook. The architects hope the tower will earn a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

For John Mernit, the show’s executive producer, illustrating how a high-rise can use cutting-edge technologies to shrink its carbon footprint, above and beyond what already exists, could provide useful lessons for others in the design and construction industry. “Now that we have this consciousness about how to build green,” he says, “people can see that it’s a better way.”

Architects especially might come away inspired, says Cook, whose firm has been active for more than a decade in the green building movement. “We are thrilled the show is promoting this project,” he says.

The tower, whose groundbreaking occurred in 2004, is now half occupied. The building is scheduled to be completed in 2009, according to a Cook + Fox spokesman.

Editor's Note: The story has been updated per construction timeline estimates provided by Cook + Fox.

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