Sustainable World Trade Center & Built Green TV Show with Randy Coxton

[This is a guest post by Neil Chambers of Green Ground Zero, who we've mentioned in the past. -Ed] In March 2005, the powers-that-be that are redeveloping Lower Manhattan, (Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) released the Sustainable Design Guideline Reference Manual for the World Trade Center. The guidelines, principally created by Randy Croxton, FAIA, set forth a way of building that is light-years ahead of anything available in the market today. Though the Sustainable Design Guideline Reference Manual for the WTC has been out for more than a year, nearly no attention has been placed on it. This reference manual takes a leadership role with building sustainable structures. They look deeper into the problems of how the built world affects the natural world, and also, how the natural world can work together with the built world for a more sound outcome. Where LEED is primarily only concerned with individual buildings, this reference manual instructs architects, designers, developers and builders to take into consideration issues such as GREEN INFRASTRUCUTRE, LANDSCAPE HYDROLOGY, NATURAL HISTORY, WAYFINDING and HEAT ISLAND EFFECT.

These new concepts aren't actually that new. Many of them are part of environmentally sound ways of city and regional planning, but have been absent within the requirements of what many popular guidelines call GREEN.

With the last ten years of green design having been dominated by leaders like William McDonough, John Todd and Paul Hawken, few know about the forward-thinking work of Randy Croxton. In 1992 at the Earth Summits in Rio de Janeiro while William McDonough was presenting the Hannover Principles, Croxton was showcasing actual built work.

With Croxton's first two green buildings, the NRDC headquarters (1988) and the National Audubon Society Headquarters (1989), Croxton connected what was then a fracture between Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Energy Efficiency (EE). At that time, architects didn't believe IAQ and EE could co-habitat in a single edifice. In fact, the two buildings are still seen as strong examples of the potential of green architecture.

Randy first developed a set of green guidelines for the Riverside South Planning Corporation in the early 1990's. These guidelines address the environmental issues within multiple-building construction. It was not until 2005 that LEED, the most common known set of guidelines, began to even set forth a pilot program for a multiple building guideline.

Though plenty of guidelines exist in the US and around the world, most of the concepts put forth for these "new ways" of better building have been pioneered by Randy Croxton for more than a twenty years. Yet within the green world, he is relatively unknown.

In my opinion, the Sustainable Design Guideline Reference Manuel for the WTC is an amazing step in the right direction. They will continue to keep New York State at the leading edge of green design, and hopefully inspire more incredible work from Randy.

You can see a two part Special Edition of Built Green TV with Randy Croxton at starting May 22, 2006.

[This has been a guest post by Neil Chambers. -Ed]