One Bryant Park, located just a block from Times Square on 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, is scheduled to be the first LEED Platinum–certified skyscraper in the United States. Designed to house the New York offices of Bank of America (BoA), the building aspires to be a landmark, both for its distinctive architectural form and its energy performance.

The sculpted tower envelope, with its low-iron glass curtain wall, houses multiple program requirements: lobby, office space, trading floors, and mechanical rooms. Serge Appel, associate partner at Cook + Fox Architects, the building's designers, describes the desire to create a tower that, “changes during the course of the day.” Indeed, the transparency of the cladding ensures that offices and the lobby are bathed in natural light, a quality that has been capitalized on by the base building lighting designers—Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design (CBBLD)—in specifying fixtures that are energy efficient, dimmable, and zoned concentrically to allow for energy savings.

The lighting design for a transparent tower presents unique challenges. Nighttime lighting of the structure requires that it be lit from within since the clear glass surface does not reflect light. Michael Hennes, senior associate at CBBLD, explains, “The strategy for the night lighting was to accentuate the faceted geometry of the massing by highlighting the wedge facing Bryant Park.” CBBLD also worked carefully with the architects to coordinate the lighting effects with the façade's other demands: maximum transparency, floor-to-ceiling glazing, and minimized mullion sizes.

BoA will occupy approximately 75 percent of the tower, with the other 25 percent leased to individual tenants. Rocco Giannetti of Gensler, which designed the bank's offices, describes the interiors as a synergy between daylighting, air quality, and materials. “Good design enhances employee satisfaction, and that is sustainable design practice,” he says. The office lighting follows suit. Lighting design firm HDLC, who designed the BoA lighting, found that nothing on the market could meet BoA's 50-footcandle workspace requirement and limit wattage consumption without overlighting the space, so the firm instead developed a custom fixture: a hybrid T5 direct-ambient troffer with a custom ballast. Although the system utilizes daylight dimming, the key, according to lighting designer Michael Castelli, is the fixture, which allows the lighting system to be efficient with or without daylighting controls.

One Bryant Park negotiates the disparate requirements in the making of a signature building: tactical detailing to support architectural gestures with an overall strategy of daylight, zoning controls, and luminaire selections. The result is well-illuminated spaces, but within the restrictive watts per square foot parameters of energy consumption limits set by LEED.

Eric Höweler is co-founder of Boston-based architecture firm Höweler + Yoon.

Project One Bryant Park, New York
Clients The Durst Organization, New York, and Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C.
Architect Cook + Fox, New York
Interior Architect (Bank of America tenant floors) Gensler, New York
Lighting Designer (base building) Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design, New York
Lighting Designer (Bank of America tenant floors) HDLC, New York
Project Size 2.2 million square feet (overall); 1.63 million (Bank of America)
Watts Per Square Foot 1.04 (average)
Photographer Paul Rivera, New York


Base Building
Electronic Theater Controls/Barbizon Electric: Lightingcontrol system
Elliptipar: T5HO uplights at façade double-wall mechanical levels
io Lighting: Dimmable white LED strips within lobby desk and façade wall coves
GE: Chromafit lamps at roof-level double-wall extension
Lighting Science Group/SGF Associates: Elevator lobby LED edge lighting
Lightolier: Metal halide PAR20 adjustable downlights in lobby
Lite Raze: Metal halide framing projectors for Bank of America sign in lobby
Metrolight: Electronic metal halide dimming ballasts
Nichia: 3000K LEDs at elevator lobby edge lighting
Philips Color Kinetics: Linear exterior DMX-controlled LED color-changing fixtures at rooftop spire
Starfire Lighting: Metal halide PAR20 custom cylinder downlights and cove-mounted metal halide PAR30 perimeter wall grazer in lobby
Sterner Lighting: Metal halide uplights at roof-level trusses and floodlights for double-wall extension at roof deck

Bank of America tenant floors
Amerlux: Ceramic metal halide PAR20 downlights
Kurt Versen: 26W fluorescent downlights
Lutron: Eco-System daylight dimming system and integrated Grafi k6000 for conference room controls
Mercury Lighting: T5 fluorescent strips at coves
Neo-Ray: Custom-designed T5 direct/ambient troffer luminaires throughout
Philips Color Kinetics: RGB LED lighting effects
Starfire Lighting: 26W fluorescent downlights at core
Winona: Linear RGB LED arrays at luminous ceiling
Universal: Custom static ballast for all T5 applications