Cornell Passive House Tower: Student Residence

Letter from the Executive Director
October 2, 2018
Zero Emissions Building Tools
October 5, 2018

Designing and Building the World’s Largest and Tallest Passive House Building

The House at Cornell Tech

After winning the contract to build a tech campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech teamed up with the Hudson Companies, Handel Architects and Monadnock Construction to design and build one of the tallest Passive House buildings.

Obtaining city approval was one of many hurdles the design team successfully navigated. Many Passive House requirements conflicted with the city building code, while the project’s largely opaque design went directly against Manhattan’s preference for all-glass facades.

Once design buy-in was received, the team researched and oversaw the implementation of new products, procedures and innovative solutions. Sketches showing overlapping vapour barriers, tape methods, continuity of insulation, and thermal separation of metals became the new normal for the construction site. Not to mention the extensive and ongoing communication required between agencies, contractors, 19 consultants and three clients on Passive House systems and technologies.

By highlighting the main strategies and experiences, this case study aims to guide those contemplating Passive House for their projects.

Full Case Study: Cornell Tower Summary Booklet