Monthly Archives: August 2010

Feel Great, Work Great

Can we breathe new life into dead corporate bodies with green building design?  Richard Cook argues that we can.  And his proof is the Bank of America Building in New York.

Most would look at this glassy spire and assume that it is an energy hog, due to an exterior surface made almost entirely of windows.  Not so, claims Richard Cook.

The building, according to Brandon Thomas Baunach, was built with concrete “made with 45% recycled slag which dramatically cuts down the energy used to build the structure.” (  And the recreation doesn’t stop there.  As noted in Cook’s interview, and Baunach’s article, the building freezes giant ice cubes during off-peak hours so that they can be melted to cool the building when energy is at a premium.  Talk about being a responsible neighbor.

When we think of recreating a building we don’t often think of smell, but Cook posits that if a building smells good, it will feel good.  If it ‘feels good’, then the people inside of it will work well.  I suppose we would need a control case, but it would be interesting if the HR folks at Bank of America can compare notes from before and after the structural makeover/green takeover.

To bring the point about ‘feeling good’ home, Cook mentions the recreation of his own office space.  As they were redesigning the space, they realized that they had a boiling tar roof just outside the window.  And they realized that if they were truly committed to the green cause, their design choices ought not just contribute to a LEED rating, but will need to be consistent with their values.  So, they made a green roof of what was once boiling tar.  Within just a few years, the tall grass brings butterflies, butterflies bring birds, and birds even bring predator birds.

Imagine what that inescapable feeling of ‘life right outside your window’, or even ‘life in your office’ can bring to the warp and woof of Corporate America.  Talk about bringing new life, literally… infusing our offices with something new, that we never knew before.  This is recreation.