• Fox emphasizes the need to locate high-rises near mass transit. The Lucida, by his firm, will offer New York City residents such proximity and the satisfaction of LEED certification.

    Credit: dbox

    Fox emphasizes the need to locate high-rises near mass transit. The Lucida, by his firm, will offer New York City residents such proximity and the satisfaction of LEED certification.

Robert F. Fox Jr., AIA, LEED AP, is no newcomer to green design. First at Fox & Fowle Architects and now at Cook+Fox Architects in New York City, he's devoted his career to creating spaces that respect the environment. Among other projects, he and firm co-founder Richard A. Cook, AIA, are currently working on the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, which is going for LEED Platinum certification. He spoke recently with residential architect:

What is the relationship between sustainability and high-rise residential buildings?

“Clearly our footprint on our planet is going to be greatly decreased if we can house more people in greener buildings. Generally, high-rise buildings are in an urban environment where there's mass transit. These are the kinds of things we will have to move toward if we are to have any kind of balance with nature. This has to come—the building requirements have to change. We cannot continue to treat our environment as poorly as we have.”

What residential high-rise building systems or technologies are you particularly excited about?

“The new central air delivery systems. Fresh air is taken in, filtered, and delivered to all of the apartments so residents don't have to have units that go through the wall, which are bad architecturally and mechanically. The system does add expense. It requires fresh-air units on the roof and both vertical and horizontal ducts, so there's more engineering and more construction. But tenants feel noticeably better and healthier. How can you ignore the opportunity to provide a healthy environment for the people in the building?”

If you could tell other high-rise architects to take one green step, what would it be?

“I would tell them to look at opportunities to save water. There are lots of opportunities to do that.”

What will high-rises be like 20 years from now?

“In 20 years, all buildings are going to have to be producing their own energy through renewable sources and hopefully through some advanced technology.”

  • Robert F. Fox Jr., AIA, LEED AP

    Credit: Gunther Intelmann

    Robert F. Fox Jr., AIA, LEED AP