Financial Times: Forget skyscrapers: nature inspires next generation of New York offices
Via Financial Times:
For Cook, the urban garden on the terrace at his firm’s office is both a personal refuge and an
example of the biophilic design that underlies his work. The term refers to design that satisfies
humans’ innate desire to connect with nature. Biophilia, he is convinced, is the new frontier in
office amenities — beyond foosball tables, cycle lockers and yoga studios — that forward-thinking
companies are deploying as they compete for young talent.
If that sounds fanciful, Google thinks otherwise. The tech giant recently agreed to pay $2.1bn for
the Cook-designed St John’s Terminal on the west side of Manhattan. The campus features a
mammoth 1930s-era industrial building where freight trains once disgorged their Manhattanbound
goods. Cook’s design for Oxford Properties, the site’s developer, called for the brick facade
to be sheared off and replaced with glass to expose old rail beds and allow sunlight to penetrate
while expanding views of the Hudson River. The building will prioritise cascading stairways over
elevators because Google believes they facilitate discussion. And it will be draped in acres of
natural gardens, including a fourth-floor terrace that runs the length of several city blocks.
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