Our History

COOKFOX Architects was founded in 2003 by Rick Cook and Bob Fox to pursue beautiful, innovative and sustainable design. Now led by Rick and six partners, our core mission is to create environmentally responsible, holistic and biophilic architecture that fosters well-being and a healthy urban landscape. Our work ranges from small jewel-like projects to complex urban transformations, spanning multifamily residential and single-family homes to institutional and commercial projects.

Our predecessor firm, Richard Cook & Associates, was founded in 1996 and became known for refined contemporary architecture in New York City’s historic districts, such as Historic Front Street and The Caroline, as well as institutional work such as The Ross Institute Center for Well-Being. 

COOKFOX studio 641 Avenue of the Americas - holding honeycomb
535 Carlton biomimetic pattern

Prior to co-founding COOKFOX, Bob Fox was a founding partner of Fox & Fowle Architects. Under his guidance, that firm rose to a position of national leadership in sustainable high-rise building and urban design. Bob led the team that created the 1999 Commercial and Residential Environmental Guidelines for Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan; later updated by COOKFOX, they have resulted in the creation of 5 million square feet of LEED Gold and Platinum buildings, and are the first of their kind to be written for an entire urban neighborhood.

We design high-performance, environmentally responsive spaces that meet the highest standards of environmental performance. Our projects include the LEED Platinum One Bryant Park; Skanska Construction’s office in the Empire State Building; and our former studio in the Flatiron District, the first LEED Platinum project in New York State. Our current studio is certified both LEED Platinum and WELL Gold. Several new projects will meet standards “beyond LEED,” including a facility for the Riverside Clay Tennis Association in Riverside Park designed to fulfill the Living Building Challenge; and Betances V, a senior affordable housing and community facility in the Bronx designed for Passive House certification.

COOKFOX studio drawing room
We designed our studio at 250 West 57th Street as the next generation of workplace. Joining three landscaped terraces, our biophilic studio is an expression of our mission to connect people to nature within the built environment, and foster health and well-being.

We seek out projects that will create positive urban transformation, and are often retained for our ability to lead large and diverse project teams, client groups and public stakeholders through complex public approvals by city and state agencies. When the 2.2 million square-foot One Bryant Park tower became the first skyscraper in the world to achieve LEED Platinum certification, it transformed the market, shifted thinking about modern building design and real estate development in New York and other American cities, and achieved at large scale many of the green building movement’s most transformative ideas.

Since then we have completed City Point, a 1.6 million square foot complex of retail, office, entertainment and high-rise residential building in Downtown Brooklyn that has become a catalyst for a more vibrant, more diverse urban community. On the West Side of Manhattan, we are currently reimagining the historical St. John’s Terminal into the next generation of high-performance, biophilic workplace. Including retail and affordable and elder housing, the design improves neighborhood access to the Hudson River and weaves nature into the urban ecosystem.

COOKFOX Studio apiary
641 Avenue of the Americas green roof

To expand our presence in the green building movement, Rick and Bob joined Bill Browning in 2006 to create Terrapin Bright Green, a sister environmental consulting and strategic planning firm. Now an independent firm, Terrapin advises clients on green development, public and corporate policy, and environmental performance strategies. Among our collaborations is the publication of 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design.

Environmental stewardship forms the core our designs, from an urban scale to interior materials and detailing. We believe that healthy environments are physically, visually and psychologically connected to nature; accordingly follow principles of biophilia, health and wellness. We highlight the innate connection between humans and the living systems around us, using our own biological preferences to create spaces that are not only environmentally responsible but foster the greatest health and well-being of their occupants.

We believe a truly healthy and sustainable built world includes everyone. We are deeply committed to social equality in our work and operations, and passionate advocates of architecture that promotes equality. In addition to designing affordable and supportive housing for low-income and senior residents in New York, COOKFOX has designed a hospital visitors pavilion in Siem Reap, Cambodia, as well as a STEM school for at-risk children in Phnom Penh. We encourage diversity and fairness in hiring and in all facets of our practice.