One Bryant Park, the sustainable skyscraper that is almost complete at the northwest corner of 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue."/>
On Thursday I took my class on a field trip to One Bryant Park, the sustainable skyscraper that is almost complete at the northwest corner of 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue. We received a three-hour tour from project architect Serge Appel from Cook + Fox, including everything from the ice stored in the basement to the inside of the crystal crown. Next week they will all turn in reviews of the building (their first was on the High Line). My favorite moment of the tour was my first encounter with the building: I popped up from the subway on Sixth Avenue and saw through the lobby glass a set of wild green shapes. As soon as I was through the big glass doors, all the noise of the avenue stopped, and I was in a tall transparent room with three oversized aliens growing moss, vines and lichen on every side. A few others had found their way in and were eating lunch at cafe tables like those in Bryant Park across the street. It turns out this is a privately-owned public space, the Urban Garden Room, open to anyone, just off the building’s lobby proper. In summer the glass fronting the street will slide up, making it an outdoor eating spot. The verdant aliens are the work of landscape architects WRT, albeit derivative of Patrick Blanc. Few seem to know about the space yet, so if you work in midtown, I would make it an immediate lunchtime destination. It is a new iteration of pocket parks like GreenAcre and Paley Park (just up Sixth) and it will be interesting to see if it succeeds like those or fails like so many others.