COOKFOX Architects is an architectural studio dedicated to a vision of integrated, environmentally responsive design. The firm is committed to being wise stewards of our shared natural and cultural resources. Guided by their passion for excellence, belief in the collaborative process, and persistent curiosity, COOKFOX pursues projects that allow them to fundamentally re-think how people interact with buildings and the natural environment.

CookFox set out to design their new design studio on the 17th floor of 250 West 57th Street in New York as part of an office relocation. This 20,184 sf, Class A commercial office space needed to demonstrate best-in-class design strategies and act as a showcase for the architectural firm’s capabilities.  Further, the project needed to bring the company’s ethos and methodology to life for every employee. The project would be the firm’s most powerful recruiting tool.

Paladino had a strong working relationship with CookFox, thanks to previous successful collaborations. COOKFOX Architects engaged Paladino and Company to manage the LEED process and support sustainability efforts as measured by a LEED v3 Platinum CI certification. Our approach was centered on COOKFOX’s commitment to achieve a high aspiration of sustainability while optimizing the work place experience for each employee.

After conducting a project kick-off meeting, Paladino guided the sustainability strategies and optimized them toward the story that COOKFOX Architects wanted to articulate internally and externally.

COOKFOX’s design approach emphasizes the experience of the space’s users, so the WELL methodology and certification were introduced as an added goal during the project. Paladino provided a WELL gap analysis, and supported COOKFOX Architects as the firm pursued a WELL Gold certification.

Together, we emphasized seamless and efficient work, linking Paladino’s efforts to the CookFox design process without disruption.

COOKFOX started with a smart selection of this location. It was chosen for its efficient floorplate with abundant natural light and close proximity to Central Park and public transportation. Its features include:

  • The space celebrates nature and features three terraces for planting as well as many windows that connect people to natural-light cycles.
  • High-quality air filtration, fresh air delivery, CO2 monitoring and use of low-VOC materials and the studio’s natural cleaning program ensure the best possible indoor air quality, along with an ionization system to remove odors, particulate matter, toxins and allergens.
  • In addition, zoned air-conditioning may
be individually controlled according to occupant needs using the management app Comfy.
  • The lighting system prioritizes daylight, and the studio is primarily lit by reflected light to approximate natural, dynamic lighting conditions. When electric light is required, task lights allow personalized lighting with color temperature controls to support healthy circadian rhythms.
  • A commuter’s shower encourages biking, running, and walking to work; a secondary kitchen is designed to encourage healthy eating; office planning includes spaces for communal dining to encourage creative social engagement.

There are additional choices that make this location special. The COOKFOX team is able to celebrate the skills and interests of its employees by incorporating gardens that the employees manage and they were able to include working honey-producing beehives thanks to on-staff bee keeping hobbyists. From a design perspective, they were able to adapt WELL guidelines such as a minimum number of standing work stations to fit their work flow by assigning the standing desks to areas where teams redline and review architectural drawings. Further, the outdoor spaces are left unprogrammed, so that the team has the flexibility to use them as they wish, and can enjoy the expansive views, abundant plant life, and fresh air over the course of their natural work day.

Results

The headquarters stands as a testament to COOKFOX’s brand and values. The sustainability efforts were confirmed with a LEED Platinum CI certification, and the health and wellness strategies were validated through a WELL Gold certification. Further, the entire COOKFOX Architects team was able to learn on-the-job about WELL certification, and to bring the lessons learned directly to their clients.