True Green Cities / What to do About Midcentury Modern Curtain Walls

The Tishman Building, on the left, designed by Emery Roth in 1959, is being converted into a Hilton Garden Inn, using energy efficient technique.  The Rand Building to the right is still in use as an office building.

The Tishman Building in downtown Buffalo, on the left, designed by Emery Roth in 1959, is being converted into a Hilton Garden Inn, by saving the windows and inserting a new insulated panel behind the existing curtain wall. The Rand Building to the right is still in use as an office building.

This year may be remembered as the year we began the battle against midcentury modern buildings in the name of energy efficiency. I have feared this for years. Applying “inefficient” to an entire era of buildings can be dangerous. Hence the controversy over Michael Bloomberg's Midtown East rezoning plan, which would allow New York to replace aging commercial buildings with office towers in East Midtown. The plan has received derision for promoting density over neighborhood, new over old, and bigger buildings without transit or street improvements. What it also does is encourage demolition of existing buildings. But does one green approach – density – supersede another green approach – keeping what’s already here? For the rest of this article please continue to the UBM Future Cities website.  And if you’d like to “subscribe” or follow my blog, True Green Cities, please sign up through the “Subscribe” button at the bottom left of this page. You’ll receive a daily recap when new blogs are posted. Or Sign up for the Feed.
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