COOKFOX Architects LLP
Featured / Commercial / Interiors
When COOKFOX outgrew a previous location in Cooper Square, we saw our next office space as an opportunity to reflect our culture and convey a vision for the future. Guided by a passion for design excellence and a deep commitment to sustainability, we wanted to create the best possible work environment—one that would inspire our designers to produce their best work. Accomplishing this would mean preserving the studio-based spirit of the firm while challenging ourselves to “walk the walk” of green design that we advocate to all our clients.
Our LEED-CI Platinum certified office space at 641 Avenue of the Americas, COOKFOX’s home from 2006 to early 2017, was a light-filled showcase for sustainable design. Located in the penthouse of a former department store in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District, the space featured an open floor plan, 14-foot ceilings and original details from its circa-1902 dining room. Daylight filled the interior from several directions, with a sweeping curve of nine-foot windows offering wide-angle views of the Manhattan skyline and Empire State Building.
A defining feature of the office—and a strong biophilic element—was a 3,600 square foot roof. This restorative green plane was visible from nearly every workplace and planted with drought-tolerant, low-maintenance sedum species. The green roof reduced stormwater runoff, decreased the building’s cooling load and fought the heat island effect that burdens the city’s energy infrastructure. The roof also featured four raised planting beds, integrating a “Three Sisters” garden of beans, corn and squash, as well as an apiary with over 50,000 Italian bees.
The first LEED Platinum certified project in New York, the office incorporated integrative design to produce a healthy, productive work environment. A daylight-based lighting scheme used zone controls and daylight-dimming fixtures to save energy while highlighting the ornate detail of the original columns and coffered ceiling. An upgraded HVAC system, operable windows and low-VOC materials together provided natural ventilation and protected indoor air quality year-round. Advanced water-saving features, including waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets and sensor-activated lavatory faucets, reduced water consumption by over 40%.
The interior design palette was selected for everyday durability with priority given to natural materials—these selections acted as a “learning lab” for a range of local, eco-friendly materials. The office was used to advocate for the long-term sustainability goals of PlaNYC by promoting the benefits of green roofs in New York and served as the backdrop for the former Mayor Bloomberg's re-election campaign. COOKFOX also facilitated regular studio tours and hosted a monthly environmental lecture series featuring distinguished scientists, authors, and filmmakers from around the world.
In a district where the “commercial palaces” of past generations mingle with the creative industries of today, the office space represented a new kind of professional workplace for a sustainable, urban future.
COOKFOX Project Team
Dan Brammer / Mark Canfield / Tyler Caine / Antonio Dellomo / Kristen Johnson / Natalia Livian / Zoe Logan / Ethan Lu / Mark Rusitzky
Award of Merit for Interiors, AIA-NY (2011)