The Building Site and Special Features
The building has been sited and to take full advantage of the landscape and to embrace the principles of sustainable architecture. Several large glass-walled classrooms enable viewers outside to see the hum of activity within. The effect will be particularly striking during the evening when these lighted spaces will serve as a welcoming beacon to students and visitors alike, drawing them into the life of the campus. The narrow building plan provides daylight in virtually all spaces, including the concert hall, which will be used daily for rehearsals and teaching as well as for performances.
Wherever possible, the design incorporates new advances in environmentally sensitive architecture drawn from the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. Renewable materials such as bamboo have been used in the interior of the concert hall and lobby, and local and recycled materials have been used throughout.
The most important of these environmentally sensitive features is the geothermal heating and cooling. The Zankel Music Center is the third Skidmore project in as many years to use closed-loop geothermal wells for the building's heating and cooling needs. In addition to reducing energy costs by approximately 40 percent, this technique substantially reduces carbon emissions. Skidmore continues to work with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to identify additional ways to lower the facility’s energy usage.