Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
The Bank of America Tower, New York City
Posted June 2011
The Bank of America Tower was recognized as the Best Tall Building Americas Winner in the 2010 CTBUH Awards Program.

Other Featured Tall Buildings

“An excellent example of attention to detail, commitment to sustainability, placing priority on human health and pushing boundaries in environmental strategies and technology.” 
– Gordon Gill, CTBUH 2010 Awards Chair, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

New York City
May 2010
365.80 m (1200.13 ft)
115,000 sq m (1,237,850 sq ft)
Primary Use

Durst Organization
The Bank of America
Durst Organization
Design Architect
Cook + Fox Architects;
Adamson Associates
Structural Engineer
Severud Associates
MEP Engineer
Jaros, Baum & Bowles
Main Contractor
Tishman Construction

The Bank of America Tower produces a high level of sustainability within the commercial market place, creating a strong identity for itself and acting as an exemplary execution of sustainable technology integration, urban intensification, and advanced workplace design on the most broad levels. With its chamfered top and crystalline geometry, the form of the building eschews the orthogonal blocks of the Modernist tradition creating a sculptural addition to the New York skyline without sacrificing the efficiency and functionality of the office floor plans.

The Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park was designed to set a new standard in high-performance buildings, for both the office workers who occupy the tower and for a city and country that are awakening to the modern imperative of sustainability. Drawing on concepts of biophilia—or humans’ innate need for connection to the natural environment—the vision at the occupant scale was to create the highest quality modern workplace by emphasizing daylight, fresh air, and an intrinsic connection to the outdoors. At the urban scale, the tower addresses its local environment as well as the context of midtown Manhattan, to which it adds an expressive new silhouette on an already-iconic skyline.

The building responds to the dense urban context by weaving into the existing grid at street level, yet challenging the boundaries of public and private space with a highly transparent corner entry. As it rises, the tower shears into two offset halves, increasing the verticality of its proportions as well as the surface area exposed to daylight. Mass is sliced from these two rectilinear volumes, producing angular facets that open up light and oblique views beyond the typical limits of urban geometry. The crystalline form—inspired by the legacy of the 1853 Crystal Palace, which once stood adjacent in Bryant Park, and by a quartz crystal from the client’s collection—suggests an appropriate natural analogue, both organic and urban in nature. With its crisp, folded façade, the tower changes with the sun and sky; its southeast exposure, a deep double wall, orients the building in its full height toward Bryant Park, its namesake and the most intensively-used open space in the US.

With the Bank of America as its primary tenant, occupying six trading floors and 75% of its
interior, the tower signals  a significant shift in corporate

Figure 1. Urban approach
America and in the real estate industry, acknowledging the higher value of healthy, productive workplaces. One Bryant Park’s most lasting achievement is to merge the ethics of the green building movement with a twenty-first century aesthetic of transparency and re-connection.

One Bryant Park is the first commercial high-rise to earn LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council. The building’s advanced technologies include a clean-burning, on-site, 5.0 MW cogeneration plant, which provides approximately 65% of the building’s annual electricity requirements and lowers daytime peak demand by 30%. A thermal storage system further helps reduce peak load on the city’s over-taxed electrical grid by producing ice at night, melted during the day to provide cooling. Nearly all of the 1.2m (4ft) of annual rain and snow that fall on the site is captured and re-used as gray water to flush toilets and supply the cooling towers.

It is admirable to see a tall building design that is so thoroughly focused on the end user, creating a high quality work space with emphasis on daylight, fresh air, and a healthy work environment. There is little doubt that this balanced and sustainable design will be used as a benchmark for future sustainable and well integrated projects worldwide.
Figure 2. Section showing air handling systems Figure 3. Section showing water handling systems
These strategies, along with waterless urinals and low-flow fixtures, save approximately 7.7 million gallons of potable water per year.

Recycling was a prominent factor throughout the building’s construction, with 91% of construction and demolition waste diverted from landfill. Materials include steel made from 75% (minimum) recycled content and concrete made from cement containing 45% recycled content (blast furnace slag). To protect indoor air quality as well as natural resources, interior materials are low-VOC, sustainably harvested, manufactured locally, and/or recycled wherever possible.

The building’s exceptionally high indoor environmental quality results from hospital-grade, 95% filtered air; abundant natural daylight and 2.9m (9.5ft) ceilings; an under-floor ventilation system with individually-controlled floor diffusers; round-the-clock air quality monitoring; and views through a clear, floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall. This high-performance curtain wall minimizes solar heat gain through low-E glass and heat-reflecting ceramic frit; it also has allowed the Bank of America to reduce artificial lighting with an automated daylight dimming system, reducing lighting and cooling energy by up to 10%.
Figure 4. View of the lobby
Figure 5. New York skyline
On an urban level, the project also represents the culmination of the developer’s multigenerational efforts to revitalize the Times Square area, and gives back to the city with a street-level Urban Garden Room, a mid-block pedestrian passage/performance space, and the first “green” Broadway theater, the LEED Gold Stephen Sondheim Theater.

In an era of heightened security, a central challenge of the project was balancing the complexities of program and scale with high-performance architecture and urban design. In its layered connection to the ground plane, One Bryant Park resolves this question with a progression of public and private spaces—from Bryant Park to the Urban Garden Room to the semi-public lobby. As a total response to the urban environment, the building’s restorative connections therefore work on many levels, from green roofs and views of the park to more subtle and expressive elements. A highly integrated approach to architecture and engineering ensured a close relationship between form and function. Bridging contexts as vastly different as Times Square and Bryant Park, the project makes a highly visible statement on urban stewardship and global citizenship for the 21st century.
Figure 6. The Bank of America in the New York City skyline

Related Links
CTBUH Skyscraper Center Profile:
Visit The Bank of America Tower profile

The Bank of America Tower recognized as the Best Tall Building Americas Winner in the 2010 CTBUH Awards Program:

Watch The Bank of America Tower Awards presentation
Watch The Bank of America Tower project team interview

Download The Bank of America Tower 2010 CTBUH Awards Book section
2010 CTBUH Awards Book

The Bank of America Tower featured in Tallest in 2009
Download the article
2010 CTBUH Journal Issue I
CTBUH Tallest in 2009 Poster

The Bank of America Tower featured in Innovative 20
Download the article
2010 CTBUH Journal Issue II
CTBUH Innovative 20 Poster

The Bank of America Tower Technical Tour:
Bank of America at One Bryant Park Tour

The CTBUH would like to thank Cook + Fox Architects for their assistance with this article. Images 1-5 © David Sundberg/Esto, Image 6 © Lester Ali for Cook + Fox Architects. Drawings © Cook + Fox Architects