Sustainability at ARO

Leadership in Sustainable Design

We have demonstrated leadership at all scales of sustainable design with a particular focus on urban climate change adaptation. From overall planning for energy efficiency and daylight to the careful selection of systems and materials, our goal is to weave sustainability into the larger architectural identity of each project.

lower Manhattan with proposed landscape buffer

Our research and design in the field of urban climate change adaptation has been internationally recognized as a new paradigm for a beneficial relationship between cities and the waters that surround them. In “A New Urban Ground,” commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, our project for lower Manhattan reconceived public space in response to climate change with DLANDstudio. Transforming the streetscape and waterfront through an “ecological infrastructure,” the project proposed an entirely new relationship between the city and nature.

We work closely with industry leaders in sustainability and environmental design, to identify performance goals to support the design process including those for energy and carbon emissions, water use, sustainable materials, comfort, and indoor environmental quality.

north end cantilever overlooking field and facing Bearcat Plaza
The building’s dramatic north cantilever frames views into the stadium and its stepped massing at the south terrace allows views to the field.

Most of our projects target LEED and/or WELL Building Standard certification, including our current work at the Rothko Chapel, targeting LEEDv4 certification, and the Education and Welcome Center at Green-Wood Cemetery, targeting LEED Gold certification. Recent interiors include the LEED-Gold Congregation Beit Simchat Torah and LEED-certified Knoll Showrooms & Offices nationwide in Houston (Platinum), Los Angeles (Gold and WELL-certified), Washington D.C. (Gold), and San Francisco (Gold). New buildings include the LEED-Gold Barbara Greenbaum House, LEED-Gold Applied Math Building, LEED-Silver Nippert Stadium, and LEED-Silver Upper Learning Building.

Passive House strategies at 100 Flatbush
Passive House strategies for the school building.

We have also implemented innovative approaches to sustainable design such as an ultra-low energy and low-cost housing prototype certified Passive House in Syracuse, NY, and the current design of 100 Flatbush, a new primary and high school building in Downtown Brooklyn, which will be the first certified Passive House NYC public school.

man sitting on custom pink ARO Planks assembled into a bench
Custom ARO Bench, Knoll San Francisco

Healthy Interiors

Wellness begins with the physical space – healthy materials, access to views and daylight, plants, proper ventilation, and acoustics. These fundamental sustainable goals create productive and comfortable spaces for all to enjoy. In dynamic open spaces, acoustics are particularly important. Our material explorations for Knoll’s New York Headquarters evolved into the ARO Collection, our product line of modular, acoustic, architectural felt components in varied patterns and colors. Elevating everyday spaces with intelligent planning and vibrant materiality, we design spaces that enrich daily life.

Office Initiatives

ARO’s holistic framework of sustainability intersects our office initiatives, including a Materials Working Group that is refining the firm’s design process and sourcing in addition to our commitments as an early signatory of U.S. Architects Declare. A Zero-Waste team overhauled the office waste streams to divert 90% of waste from landfills and we are active members of the U.S. Architects Declare Social and Environmental Justice group.