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Design, technology are highlights of tower

The bones of a building can be strong, but its exterior has a strength all its own.

When it comes to the aesthetics, technology and design of Tower280, Ken Glazer, managing partner of Buckingham Properties LLC, let the design dictate itself.

Glazer’s education, work experience and state architectural license credentials allowed him to have a clear view of design quality and style, he said.

“We weren’t too sure where the design would lead us,” he said. “It was a big skeleton stripped of virtually all of its previous characteristics, and so we just began to work. We knew the budget would be limiting and so we had to pick our spots very carefully. I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.

“We created a very sexy building and really hope it inspires the community to create a new city full of great architecture and smart buildings.”

His formula was pretty simple, Glazer said. The building’s base and the glass top portion would be the largest investment of money and materials. The middle section needed paint and new windows to complement but not overshadow the other changes.

Tower280 has integrated technology in different ways, including access-control that allows tenants to use a keyless entry and LED lighting that has had an impact on Rochester’s night skyline. Guests also can be viewed and buzzed in using smartphone apps.

The building also features a 2,000-square-foot dog park. A miniature “doggie town,” complete with rows of doghouses, play fire hydrants, ramps and water/food dishes and benches for owners to sit and watch the dogs is in the works, Glazer said. LED lighting also is installed in the dog park railing.

“We hope Tower280 will generate confidence and pride in our community and our trusted leadership,” Glazer said. “In doing this, we sought to generate an atmosphere and experience like no other place in Rochester. This experience shall not only foster civic pride, but capture an excitement and belief that Rochester has returned, and we are doing it in style.”

The building’s LED lighting is top of the line, said Marcello Battisti, project manager of Tower280’s lighting and vice president of Tambe Electric Inc.

“LED lighting right now is getting very common, but this is more like an accent lighting; this is high-end stuff,” Battisti said. “Not too many people spend to have this in their buildings. We’re doing a lot of stuff right now (on) high rises downtown, but this job was just unique as it meant something for Rochester, because there’s a lot of history there.”

The top of the building has aculight, which changes colors and runs through fiber optic cables. The lighting helps to give the building a certain appeal, he said.

“You want to draw more people to come downtown,” Battisti said. “This is a nice eye-opener. It gives it a lot more life at night. It really pops the building from the downtown area and it’s cost effective for the owner, lasts longer and has more energy.”

Philip Michael Brown, project designer of Tower280 and owner and principal of the Philip Michael Brown Studio in New York City, formerly in Rochester, said Rochester should evoke a look and feel of global high-end design.

“The primary design intent behind Tower280 is to bring the global contemporary design aesthetic to Rochester,” Brown said. “In other words, to send a message through the architecture of the building that we as a city are evolving with the cultural interconnectedness that will move us forward in terms of our participation in the 21st century global economy.”

Technology’s advances have allowed for more of its use when it comes to lighting, he said.

“The exterior and main lobby interior lighting design concept for Tower280 takes advantage of recent advances in LED technology that allowed us to appropriate certain dramatic lighting features that previously would have been outside the budget scope of a similar project, even as recently as five years ago,” he said.

Some challenges of the project were working on top of the existing Midtown Garage and designing with the existing structure of the tower in place while sure to meet changing building codes.

“Designing a nice building from scratch is relatively easy when compared with the seemingly impossible task of attempting to transform a relic of early ’60s Brutalism through adaptive reuse into an award-winning, humanly scaled and urbanistically inclusive design which the community will feel is both compelling and successful,” Brown said.

The hope is that the building’s design encourages more people to see downtown Rochester in new ways. Tower280 provides a new vibrancy to the area, Brown said.

“It addresses the public realm compared to other buildings in downtown Rochester,” he said. “This is one of the main differences between global architectural thinking today and the essentially non-urbanistic design ideologies of the architecture of the ’60s and ’70s that most of downtown is based on. The building is urbanistic in that its transparency activates the surrounding streetscapes as part of a participatory and inclusionary urban stage that cities and the architecture that defines them (were) always meant to be.”

The design of Tower280, Glazer said, is another way to showcase the dreams for Rochester of his late father, Laurence.

“This project, in particular, was and is simultaneously the most challenging project I have ever been part of, but it also is by far the most rewarding, and it makes me smile knowing we finished what my father started,” Glazer said.

“I know without any doubt that, even with his lofty standards, he would be thrilled at what we created. He taught us well. It stands as a shining example of an inspired team full of passionate community leaders who worked tirelessly to ensure his legacy remains intact and stronger than ever,” he said.

“He inspired an entire city to believe that it can be done, and why not us? This one is for you LG; we miss you and hope you’re looking with a smile.”

11/18/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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