"For most of us, breathing fresh air or sitting by the water or being in a sunlit room is relaxing," says Shona Quinn, EILEEN FISHER Sustainability Leader. "Eileen had these values in mind when we renovated our offices."
From 1912 to 1988, the brick structure was home to Lord & Burnham, a greenhouse manufacturer whose notable projects included the glass conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden. In 1992 EILEEN FISHER took up tenancy; in 2007 we asked architect Earl Everett Ferguson to help us expand and transform the space. The project, along with our Creative Center at 111 Fifth Avenue in New York City, won a Good Design Is Good Business Award from Architectural Record in 2011.
The renovation took a holistic look at not just energy efficiency but the ways in which design fosters creativity, collaboration and community. By choosing an open plan, lighting costs were reduced and employee satisfaction increased— river views could be accessed by everyone.
For privacy, glass-walled conference rooms were situated in the middle of the workspace and along the non-window sides of the building. Multiple kitchens, stocked with china and silverware, encourage employees to prepare healthy food. They can eat at the indoor cafe or gather at picnic tables at the river's edge.
What no one anticipated, of course, was Hurricane Sandy. Even though our headquarters are located 20 miles north of the mouth of the Hudson River, rising sea levels caused the Hudson River to rise four feet and flood our headquarters. Muddied and waterlogged, we launched a second renovation. Now, even on calm sunny days, we have new respect for the strength of the river—and the urgency of addressing climate change.
- Natural light and open floor plan saves energy
- CFLs, halogen bulbs and automatic light sensors
- 29 internal climate zones, efficient HVA
- Reclaimed wood floors, natural fibers, some recycled wool rugs
- Sustainable maple veneer on desks with core of recycled wood
- Locally sourced materials and labor
- Low-flow bathroom fixtures
- Paints, stains and sealants: low/no VOCs
- Green Guard certified filing cabinets
- Contained spaces for copy machines
- Close to train and restaurants, limiting need for car travel
- Open spaces promote collaborative work
- Kitchen stocked with china and silverware eliminates take-out waste
- Informal gathering spaces with living room-like furnishing
- Loft-like space for eating; outdoor picnic tables at the water's edge
- Quiet Room, Yoga Room, Lactation Room