The Solaire

The Solaire

New York, NY, USA

CLIENT Albanese Development Corporation  / SIZE 9,530 SF / STATUS Completed 2003 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, Pelli Clarke Pelli

As the first ‘green’ residential high-rise in the United States, the Solaire building has introduced a new intercon­nection between architecture, its urban setting, and landscape in sustainable design. Balmori Associates col­laborated with the design architects, Cesar Pelli & Associates, to incorporate ecologically beneficial green roofs and a hydrological system into the infrastructure of the building.

Balmori Associates employed two types of green roofs for Solaire: an extensive vegetated roof, or a covering of groundcovers and sedums in 4” of growing medium; and an intensive green roof, which has deeper planting beds for a variety of vegetation ranging from perennials to bamboo trees. Located on the 19th floor, the inten­sively planted rooftop provides outdoor public space for the residents of the building, high above the city.

There are many ecological benefits to the inclusion of the greens roofs. They absorb solar heat which in turn lowers the building’s temperature, saving energy, and helping to mitigate the urban heat island effect. Rainwater is absorbed by the vegetation, reducing the amount of storm water entering the municipal system, and is cleaned of heavy metals and pollution in the process. The excess run-off is collected in a basement cistern, along with the building’s grey water, and is later used to irrigate the green roofs as necessary and is channelled to nearby parks.

Balmori Associates was given a 2004 Green Roof Award of Excellence for their design by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. The Solaire was the first building to be designed in response to an ambitious set of new guide­lines for green architecture developed by the Battery Park City Authority. It has been awarded a Gold Leed Rating and received New York State’s Green Building Tax Credit. In 2002, Solaire was one of five projects selected by the United States Department of Energy to represent the nation at the International Green Building Challenge in Oslo, Norway.