The RBF Earns Platinum LEED Certification

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) has earned the competitive LEED Platinum certification (LEED-CI v2009) from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for its new office in New York City. Designed by FXFOWLE, the 29,000-square-foot office, located in The Interchurch Center in upper Manhattan, was completed in June 2009. The RBF's new office demonstrates the Fund's commitment to providing its staff with a cost-effective, healthy, and productive workplace that is aligned with its environmental values, and also allows the foundation to concentrate financial resources on advancing social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.

"From the environment-sensitive design and construction to the great leadership of our vice president, Gerry Watson, we had an outstanding team that helped us achieve LEED Platinum certification," said RBF President Stephen Heintz. "Creating an environment that is open, transparent, and energy efficient was central to our commitment to sustainable practices."

"Our vision for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund office coincided with the Fund's mission to ensure that sustainability was incorporated holistically throughout the entire project," stated Guy Geier, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED, Managing Partner at FXFOWLE. "From the beginning of the project, the office was designed to evoke the history and classic modern design aesthetics of the Rockefeller family, and to achieve LEED Platinum certification."

The RBF's interior evokes understated elegance, and is enriched with a neutral and natural palette, complemented by vintage mid-century furniture, custom millwork, IceStone surfaces, FSC-certified wood, locally sourced slate from Vermont, and rapidly renewable materials, such as bamboo. The layout blurs the boundaries between public and private with a flexible open-office plan to encourage better communication and collaboration among the Rockefeller Brothers Fund staff, trustees, grantees, and visitors. The Riverside Café and multipurpose Founders' Room, with views of the Hudson River, provide the Fund with the capacity to host events and exhibits that reflect its programmatic interests.

To counteract the low ceilings and small windows of the existing 1950s building, FXFOWLE centrally located all glass-fronted offices around the core of the building. Centralizing the offices leaves the perimeter open, allowing daylight to penetrate the entire space.

FXFOWLE's design for the RBF's office creates an environment that resonates with trustees, staff, visitors, and the nonprofit community it serves. A key feature of the RBF's new office is the Grants Hub, a collaboration between FXFOWLE and the Fund, which provides staff with a central place to work together, discuss grant-related issues, and review proposals. The space both highlights the core business of the Fund, and serves to further improve operational efficiencies. Before the RBF moved to its new office, staff had been examining the Fund's grantmaking processes, and experimenting with different ways to organize the collection and review of grant materials in an open and shared central space.

The RBF is one of eight publicly reporting projects in New York City to receive LEED Platinum certification for commercial interiors. The Fund's green build-out was captured in Moving to a Sustainable Future and is available at and RBF's design and construction team included: FXFOWLE - architect; John Gallin & Son - construction managers; Cosentini Associates - M/E/P engineer; Gilsanz Murray Steficek, LLP - structural engineer; Illumination Arts - lighting designer; Cerami & Associates - acoustical and audiovisual designer; Loring Engineers - commissioning; Two Twelve - signage; and Levien and Company - project manager.

"The strength of USGBC has always been the collective strength of our leaders in the building industry," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role of the building industry in that effort, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund demonstrates their leadership through their LEED certification of Platinum."

The Fund's new office also holds historical significance as John D. Rockefeller, Jr. acquired the land on which The Interchurch Center sits and donated monies for the general building fund and for the limestone exterior. The RBF has leased the land rent free to The Interchurch Center Corporation for a 100-year period, ending December 31, 2056.

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About FXFOWLE Architects
Founded 32 years ago, FXFOWLE Architects is an architectural, interior design, planning, and urban design firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. The firm's diverse portfolio of work has garnered international recognition for its design quality, technical innovation, and environmental responsibility. In 2010, FXFOWLE was named Firm of the Year by the American Institute of Architects - New York State, and was recognized by Inc. as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. For more information, visit or

About Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Founded in 1940, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund advances social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. The RBF's grantmaking is organized around three themes: Democratic Practice, Sustainable Development, and Peace and Security, and three pivotal places: New York City, Western Balkans, and Southern China. For more information, visit

Press Contacts

Brien McDaniel, FXFOWLE, Director of Public Relations
[email protected] / +1 646 292 8221

Gail Fuller, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Director of Communications
[email protected] / +1 212 812 4242