Do We Even Need New Office Buildings Post-Pandemic?
Even the smartest guys in the room can't predict the future.
The JPMorgan Chase & Co. building at 270 Park Avenue July 19, 2006 in New York City.
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Everybody is wondering about the future of the office. Many companies are considering going hybrid. According to The New York Times, JPMorgan Chase, Ford Motor, Salesforce, and Target are among the many companies that are "giving up expensive office space."
Treehugger has been following how Chase manages its real estate for a number of years, critiquing the company's decision to demolish the Union Carbide Building, also known as the JPMorgan Chase Tower and most recently named 270 Park Avenue. The high-rise office building was designed by Natalie de Bloise of Skidmore Owings and Merrill and is one of the largest buildings ever designed by a woman architect. It was described by one critic as "among the finest of its kind."
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Its replacement is being designed by Foster + Partners, who were signatory to Architects Declare, a volunteer-led initiative rallying architectural practices to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergency. The network includes two goals relevant to this project:
- Upgrade existing buildings for extended use as a more carbon-efficient alternative to demolition and new build whenever there is a viable choice.
- Include life cycle costing, whole-life carbon modeling, and post-occupancy evaluation as part of our basic scope of work, to reduce both embodied and operational resource use.
The problem with the demolition of the Union Carbide Building is not only the 1,518,000 square feet of space being replaced but that the 707-foot tall building was completely renovated to LEED Platinum in 2011, which was likely a gut renovation right down to the frame. It's really barely out of warranty, mostly a 10-year-old building, and definitely not at the end of its useful life.