World’s Tallest Passive House Breaks Ground on Roosevelt Island

World’s tallest passive house breaks ground on roosevelt island
In a rendering showing Phase 1 of construction, the apartment house is the tallest structure, and the first academic building is in the foreground.

An apartment tower on Roosevelt Island that began construction this month will be the tallest passive-house high-rise in the world when it is completed in 2017, according to the Passive House Institute in Germany. And at about 270,000 square feet, it will also be the largest, said David Kramer, a principal with Hudson Companies, which is developing the building in partnership with Cornell Tech, the applied sciences campus of Cornell University, and the Related Companies.

The tower will rise 270 feet, contain 350 units and house about 530 graduate students, faculty and staff on a new 12-acre campus for Cornell Tech, which has been operating out of temporary facilities in the Google building in Chelsea since 2012. And because the building will conform to rigorous standards set by the German organization, its energy consumption should be 60 percent to 70 percent less than that of conventional high-rises, the developers said.

“Sustainability in terms of campus design is just hugely important to Cornell,” said Jennifer Klein, an assistant director for strategic capital partnerships at Cornell Tech. “The idea for our residential tower was we take that mission even further, and we really do set the bar for this energy-efficient type of development throughout New York City.”

At 26 stories, the building will surpass what is currently the world’s tallest passive-house building, the 20-story Raiffeisenhaus Wien 2 office tower in Vienna, completed in 2012. []