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Unveiled> PNC Tower
Gensler designs an ultra-sustainable tower for Pittsburgh.
Courtesy PNC

PNC Tower
Architect: Gensler
Client: PNC Bank
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Completion: 2015

Green is the new currency in building big, and PNC has announced a game changer in big, green architecture. The financial services group is pouring $400 million into constructing “the world’s most environmentally friendly” tower block in Pittsburgh.

Designed by Gensler, the Tower will stand adjacent to PNC’s headquarters at PNC Plaza, which has nested on the same intersection of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street for 150 years and boasts one of the largest green walls in the USA. Its elegant new neighbor will feature a green roof, a double glass facade oriented to maximize natural daylight, and, using advanced sensors and metering, a high-efficiency heating and cooling system that will provide air conditioned to specific zones of the building as needed. “Maximizing the inherent ecological characteristics of a site is a key aspect of green design,” said Doug Gensler, lead designer on the project. Along with green building consultants Paladino & Company of Seattle, the design team is also exploring alternative power generation sources including fuel cells as well as rain water collection and water reuse and retention systems that will prevent wastewater release into Pittsburgh’s three rivers when sewers are at capacity.

Sitting lightly on the ground, skirted with a curtain of glass, the Tower will soar up to 40 stories and envelope 800,000 square feet. It will not only be the biggest building in Pittsburgh but also a healthy addition to the company’s already emerald-colored portfolio of LEED-rated designs. Two public parks built by PNC in downtown Pittsburgh, Firstside Park and Triangle Park, also represent the company’s commitment to green design, inside and out.

Gwen Webber