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Bank of America Tower in NYC Wins National Architecture and Engineering Award

September 22, 2010 from American Institute of Steel Construction

(Chicago, IL) – The Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park in New York City has earned national recognition in the 2010 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2), and members of the project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) during a public ceremony in the tower’s 48th floor Conference Center at 1 pm on Thursday, September 23. Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievements in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects around the country.

The awards presentation will take place the day before SteelDay (September 24) – a national day of networking and learning related to the structural steel industry in the U.S. In celebration of SteelDay, AISC, with the support of Owen Steel Company and the Steel Institute of New York, is hosting an evening presentation on “Building an Award Winning Structure,” followed by a networking reception in the Samuel B. and David Rose Building at Lincoln Center Plaza. The Bank of America Tower will be among the IDEAS2 award-winning projects discussed during the presentation. Currently, attendee registration is available for the networking reception portion of the evening only. Guests may register at www.SteelDay.org/SteelDayRegistration.

Project team members include owner The Durst Organization, New York; architect Cook+Fox Architects LLP, New York; associate architect Adamson Associates Architects, Toronto; structural engineer Severud Associates (AISC Member), New York; steel detailer and fabricator Owen Steel Company, Inc. (AISC and SEAA Member), Columbia, S.C.; steel erector Cornell and Company, Inc. (AISC and IMPACT Member), Westville, N.J.; general contractor Tishman Construction Corp. (AISC Member), New York; consultant Jaros Baum & Bolles, New York.

The Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park is a recipient of a National Award in the category of projects Greater than $75 Million, making it one of only seven projects around the country to receive the National honor. Each year, the IDEAS2 awards honor National and Merit award winners in three categories, based on constructed value: projects less than $15 million; projects $15 million to $75 million; and projects greater than $75 million. Each project is judged on its use of structural steel, with an emphasis on creative solutions to project requirements; design innovation; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel; technical or architectural advances in the use of steel; the use of innovative design and construction methods; and sustainable design.

Rising a majestic 1,200 ft above the streets below, the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park joins the ranks of New York City’s architectural masterpieces. Owned jointly by The Durst Organization and Bank of America, this building showcases the results of innovative architectural and engineering design, which facilitated the creation of the tower’s magnificent crystalline shape.

“The faceting and twisting of this handsome tower adds a wonderful fresh silhouette to the NYC skyline, while at the same time sensitively spanning over the existing theater at the podium level,” commented Mitchell A. Hirsch, AIA, Principal, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, New Haven, Conn., and a judge in the competition. “The design team's efforts to employ green strategies and technologies, which will result in a LEED platinum certification, are to be applauded!”

The beauty of the tower is only one of its contributions to the city. Perhaps event more important, this new tower likely will become the first high-rise building in the world to earn a platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. To earn this notable designation, building designers incorporated not only green construction practices but also an array of sustainable technologies, such as a graywater collection system, thermal storage, and a cogeneration power plant, enabling it to consume less water and use less energy than a conventional office tower.

The building was constructed using approximately 25,000 tons of structural steel – with a recycled content of at least 75% - and 45% granulated blast furnace slag (GBFS) substituted for cement in the concrete. The design also specified many recycled and local materials, avoided materials with volatile organic compounds, and minimized the generation of construction debris.

A project of this magnitude required collaboration among all parties. Coordinating the work of numerous firms is difficult under the best of circumstances, but the project’s location less than a block from Times Square, in the center of midtown Manhattan, made the process substantially more challenging.

The building includes 2.1 million sq. ft of office and trading space spread over 51 occupied floors. There are three expansive cellars beneath the building – the deepest is 60 ft below ground level – and four mechanical floors at the top. The peak of the angled screen wall reaches a height of 945 ft while the 300-ft architectural spire tops out at 1,200 ft above the sidewalk. At a point about one third of the way up, the corners of the building start to taper gradually inward, giving the building its distinctive appearance.

Because steel erection was scheduled to precede placement of the core walls, the core framing was designed as a temporary structure, which only had to support 12 floors of its own weight before being encased in concrete. The core itself was framed with columns and beams, just as it would be for a conventional steel building, but the framing was much lighter. To accommodate the outer elements of the self-climbing formwork system, temporary slots were framed in the structural steel surrounding the core.

As a New York City landmark, the 80-ft-wide, 50-ft-high brick and terra façade of the historic Henry Miller’s Theater had to be preserved. The interior of the theater, however, was not protected, which meant that it could be demolished and reconstructed. Before demolition could begin, though, the façade was stabilized by using an external steel framework that cantilevered from the sidewalk. The façade occurs at the deepest portion of the building’s foundation, so careful underpinning and a rock shelf were used to support it.

In addition to their functional requirements, the owners desired a building that would reflect and embody the principles of sustainable development and yet still be economical to construct and operate. Many systems and strategies were considered but only one approach that represented a reasonable return on investment was pursued and implemented. Although adding green technologies and construction practices marginally increased the project budget, the expected savings in energy and water will continue to benefit the environment long after the additional initial construction costs have been offset.

The 12 IDEAS2 winners for 2010 were chosen from nearly 100 submissions received by architectural and engineering firms throughout the U.S. Each submission is reviewed and award winners are selected by a nationally recognized panel of design and construction industry professionals.

The IDEAS2 awards are the highest project-based awards bestowed by the structural steel industry, with the annual program dating back over 70 years to the earliest years of AISC’s existence. Roger E. Ferch, P.E. president of AISC, said, “The entire Bank of America Tower project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create structures that combine beauty and practicality. The result is a building that serves its city extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel.”

High-resolution photos of the Bank of America Tower project are available upon request. Please contact Tasha O’Berski at 312.670.5439 or [email protected].

Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park

Photo credit: 2010 AISC IDEAS2 Awards: Ray Jackson/Bernstein Associates 


For more information contact:

Tasha O'Berski
Communications Department
(312) 670-5439
[email protected]


American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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