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Will This Be The World’s Greenest Skyscraper?

Tower at PNC Plaza Genlser

Holistic sustainability is a notion too often forgotten in a global industry heavily focused delivering on green ideals. While the notion of green building is an umbrella under which all things related to environmentally responsible construction and design efforts are categorized, the green sector actually falls under the broad-reaching holistic sustainability model.

In its most basic terms, holistic sustainability can be defined through its three pillars of economic, environmental and societal sustainability, with each part playing a vital role in contributing to the broader idea of true and all-encompassing sustainable living.

Pittsburgh’s Tower at PNC Plaza manages to implement these three pillars while keeping in context with the surrounding area. Designed to reflect best in sustainable design practices, the development, which has just broken ground, has been described by project director Doug Gensler as setting a new standard in environmentally friendly skyscraper design.

Tower at PNC Plaza Genlser

“Our charge was to drive performance to the next level,” says Gensler.

With an architectural design team led by Gensler, engineering services provided by Buro Happold and green design consultation by Paladino & Co, the development will focus on three different three strategies to drive performance.

This will include:

  • Energy conservation, made capable through design inclusions such as a double-skinned façade, daylight optimization, solar power use and natural ventilation.
  • Driving organizational productivity through the nurturing of company culture, providing a positive Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) and allowing for organizational changes and innovation sharing.
  •  Community building, made possible through the creation of a city icon, that is culturally contextualized, and engages from a curb point of view.

Tower at PNC Plaza Genlser

The development has already been heralded as a ‘standard setting skyscraper’ not only in North America but around the world due to its broad focus and incredibly high environmental and IEQ standards.

With its stunning green aesthetic, complete with full-scaled exterior green wall, the building is expected to act as a beacon for green design, encouraging further development in the city.

As it stands, with construction currently underway, the tower is quickly moving toward a 2015 completion date..

Image Credit: Gensler
By Emily D’Alterio

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