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Alexander Durst

Alexander Durst

Chief Development Officer
The Durst Organization
“Efficient Energy Production for High Demand Tenants”
Harry Macklowe

Harry Macklowe

Macklowe Properties
“432 Park Avenue”
James von Klemperer

James von Klemperer

President & Design Principal
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
“One Vanderbilt Place”

Session Summary

Since the end of the 2008-2011 recession, New York City has been in the midst of a construction boom that is actively transforming the city. As the city’s skyline changes, the developmental axioms that dictate construction have been forever altered as well. Comprehensive mega-developments, slender luxury towers, and inventive typologies have all made an impact on the city. Most importantly, in an increasingly pricey environment, only the most thoughtful plans make the leap from schematic to site. This session featured presentations from three of the most influential drivers behind this paradigm shift, all of whom shared some information on their recent projects.

Alexander Durst, Chief Development Officer, The Durst Organization, gave the first presentation of the session, which focused on the energy efficiency considerations of The Durst Organization’s New York properties. Durst began by arguing for the importance of energy efficiency in high-rise buildings, citing world energy consumption patterns, climate targets for 2030 and beyond, and the extreme amount of energy that buildings require today. He also profiled several of his company’s buildings and the energy efficiency mechanisms that they employ.

“We can’t get to the goal of an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2030, by making our buildings more energy conservative,” Durst said. “We have to have onsite production.”

Harry Macklowe, Chairman, Macklowe Properties, next discussed his landmark property, 432 Park Avenue. As one of the tallest buildings currently under construction in New York, 432 Park has garnered a lot of attention. Macklowe gave a comprehensive breakdown of the story of the building, starting with the design inspiration. After presenting the building design and the interior and exterior spaces, he discussed the developmental process that led to the building’s construction. Finally, he talked about the feedback that the building has received from architects and critics alike.

“I really feel terrific that I have made a contribution, and that Rafael Vinoly has designed an extraordinary building,” Macklowe said. “All we developers are is dreamers and custodians of the city for a short period of time. Only if we have challenged our team and produced an outstanding project, will we have left our mark on the community.”

The final presentation of the session was given by James von Klemperer, President, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, who discussed KPF’s project, One Vanderbilt Place. While also discussing the design process for the building, von Klemperer focused primarily on the approval process for the building, offering insightful analysis for the complex zoning and air-right laws in New York City. After explaining this complex process, von Klemperer described the building itself and the design features included to integrate the building with its surroundings, specifically Grand Central Terminal. The building’s entrance lobby is a public space that leads directly to new platforms and the existing network of pedestrian tunnels at the railroad station.

“This office building is interesting, not only because it is tall; there is also something happening at the base of the building,” Von Klemperer said. “This is an ‘implant’ in the city, more than a totally new experience. But this will profoundly influence the body as well as the heart. It will be, in a way, Grand Central West.”

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