On the Waterfront: New York City Learns to be Green

Kiss + Cathcart

Ove Arup & Partners

Landscape Architect:
Judith Heintz

This proposed structure, to be built in the new Stuyvesant Cove Park located along the East River between 18th and 23rd streets, gives New York City residents an opportunity to learn how environmentalism and sustainable design are part of city life.

Building description:
A modest rectangular building made of concrete, wood and glass, with about 6,000 square feet of program space on the second floor and 2,000 square feet of enclosed public space on the park level. This building will exceed all green building guidelines. Its layout is adaptable to a broad range of uses, rather than highly calibrated to a specific program. This “loose fit” approach is a tenet of green construction, as it allows buildings to be reused for multiple programs over hundreds of years.


  • A typical New York apartment.
  • A series of storefront-type displays and interactive computer terminals to demonstrate the environmental choices we make every time we leave the house: at the cleaner’s, the hardware store, or the library.
  • A model apartment building with super-efficient, affordable systems. An integrated building management system will include use and reuse of river water, municipal water and gray-water; air supply, exhaust and purification. Digital displays throughout the model building will prove how it saves resources.
  • The building will be powered by photovoltaic (PV), tidal turbine, fuel cell, and wind energy sources. It will take advantage of natural ventilation, well-shaded glass areas, a well-insulated, thermally massive concrete frame, evaporative cooling, and a water-source heat pump. Full-spectrum, energy-efficient lighting will be off during the day. The goal is to contribute as much power to the commercial grid as obtained from it.
  • River water will visibly heat and cool the building by means of fountains and heat pumps. Waterfalls will mask traffic noise.
  • Other features: skylit atrium, open-air café, public restrooms, tidal pool, fountains, generous tree plantings, high-performance glazing, backyard garden, sawtooth roof, and a windmill.