This iconic New York High-Rise Breathes Easy

We’ve seen some interesting riffs on the New York skyscraper lately.

But while HWKN Architects have imagined how high-rise architecture might become more responsive and resilient in the face of high water, Iwamoto Scott has turned its attention toward the question of how to preserve indoor air quality in skyscrapers.

This issue is an important one, as high-rise buildings tend to lack operable windows, and may not be designed with access to natural ventilation. 

The Edgar Street Tower design (which comes to us via eVolo) tackles the problem in a unique way: by using bio-filtration terrariums that work much like a pair lungs. Housed within the structure’s dual-branching atria, these terrariums occupy hollow spaces within the floors, providing clean air for those who work within the tower.

The 1,300-foot building was actually designed to straddle Edgar Street in Lower Manhattan, and then spiral up, joining in the middle before splitting off into two atria. The bio-filtration terrarium floors are located at this second split, where open gardens work to remove C02 and pollutants from the air while replenishing the amount of oxygen available in the building. 

These atria also house a light-transmitting fiber optic array that draws daylight down into the building during the day, in the spirit of a giant skylight (and not unlike the proposal for New York’s LowLine Park). The building’s fiber optics system works in reverse at night, lighting up the towers from the inside via the power stored in its integrated solar battery packs.

Designed for optimal solar orientation and wind resistance, the study for this “big green skyscraper” was commissioned by the Downtown Alliance and led by ARO, Beyer Blinder Belle & OPEN. 

The Edgar Street Towers are planned for the south end of Manhattan, where they would create a civic landmark for the area while offering residents a place to live, work, take in art and performances, and shop, as well as check out books from a proposed public library.

Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling