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Passive House Tower Breaks Ground on Roosevelt Island

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On Friday, Cornell Tech announced that construction began earlier in the month on a 26-story residential tower built to Passive House standards at its planned mega-campus on Roosevelt Island. The Handel Architects-designed tower will rise 270 feet, making it the tallest structure on the campus, as well as the tallest Passive House in the world.

Passive House is a sustainable building standard that reduces both energy consumption and costs using advanced insulation and ventilation techniques, making the building airtight and creating what the Times calls "a giant thermos." According to a press release, the total carbon dioxide savings will total 882 tons per year, which is the equivalent of planting 5,300 new trees.

The tower will have 350 residential units, housing mostly graduate students. It will also apparently "shimmer" through the use of a special paint that, "when reflecting light, naturally shifts color from silver to warm champagne."

"High-rise multifamily housing is a vital part of the solution to the challenges we are facing with increasing world populations and a changing climate," Blake Middleton of Handel Architects said in a statement. "The Cornell Tech commitment to innovation was the impetus to rethink how these buildings are designed and built, and we expect this project to be a game-changer, creating a new paradigm for affordable, high-performance buildings to meet this challenge."

The tower is scheduled to be completed in 2017, and will open along with Phase 1 of the Cornell Tech campus, which will eventually encompass 2 million square feet of housing, office, and academic space for over 2,000 people.
· Cornell Tech [official]
· World's Tallest Passive House Breaks Ground on Roosevelt Island [NYT]
· All Cornell Tech coverage [Curbed]