Just across the Hudson River, in Jersey City, N.J., construction is under way on a golf clubhouse that may be more green than the fairways outside. Liberty National Golf Course clubhouse, which will be a soaring glass addition to the New York Harbor skyline, is designed to meet the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System. The aggressive requirements — set by the U.S. Green Building Council — are aimed at improving the overall energy performance of new buildings.
Designed by Lindsay Newman Architecture and Design, a Lower Manhattan firm, the $30 million clubhouse is part of a project conceived by Willowbend Development LLC that will include three nearby residential towers to be completed in 2009. The Liberty National golf course — operated by Liberty National Golf Club — is located on nearly a mile of New Jersey waterfront on the western shores of the Hudson River. The $129 million golf course opened in June 2006 and is expected to vie for major championships such as the US Open, Ryder Cup, and President's Cup.
The look of the course's ultramodern clubhouse was inspired by the vistas that will make it an unrivaled attraction: "The views were the overall form giver," partner Cat Lindsay said.
In their design, Ms. Lindsay and partner John Newman strove to create a structure that not only maximizes the expansive views, but uses them to enhance the functional needs of the club. With three different vistas, the sailshaped building will offer space for distinct uses: the area that has a view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty will house a bar and restaurant that will be open to the public; the ocean-view space will be reserved for private functions, and the golf course view will house the pro shop, library, and deck.
The clubhouse, Ms. Lindsay said, was designed to be the "jewel at the end of a path," referring to the half mile driveway and seemingly demure stature — from the driveway it looks about the size of a large house, 75 feet wide and 35 feet tall. But from the water the building is 250 feet long and 73 feet tall.
"You don't want to give it all away at the beginning. The entryway purposely appears small," Ms Lindsay said. "But after being greeted by the concierge, members and guests enter rooms with 30-foot-high ceilings with panoramic views of Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, the Verrazano Bridge, and the 18th fairway of the Liberty National Golf Course."
Part of the entryway has led to tension between design and execution: Two curved glass panels each measuring 16 feet tall have pushed the limits for shaping glass with curves about 90 degrees each. "The size is the constraint we are wrestling," Mr. Newman said. "Anyone can heat up a piece of glass and bend it. It is more challenging to heat and manipulate this size of glass and get it to the site and installed with both the manufacturer and installer warrantying it."
The panels will be formed by Barcelona-based Cricursa, an architectural glass producer that specializes in curved glass. Cricursa marketing director Joan Tarrus said these panels would be especially complex to make because they involved laminating layers of glass as well as forming the dramatic curves. In the production process, the company uses annealing and tempering equipment and techniques to ensure the glass is strong enough to withstand building and environmental stresses. "There is a nice reference where such a panel can be seen in New York City," Mr. Tarrus said. "It's in a high-end residential building at 497 Greenwich St. where the façade folds several times, inboard and outboard."
According to Mr. Newman, the interior of the four-story building will be elegant, but not extravagant, in an effort to lead the eye to the grand views.
In a second phase of the Willowbend development, located at former Caven Point Army Terminal adjacent to Liberty State Park, three residential towers with a total of 1,000 units will be built with construction beginning on the first tower early next year. When complete the towers will contain 3 million square feet of luxurious living space. And the fact that the towers will overlook the clubhouse introduced design challenges.
"The roof material had to be pristine — without any visible penetration — because it's a prominent feature from the towers," he said.
Mr. Newman said the tall glass plates of the clubhouse windows would withstand hurricane winds because of the heavy steel holding the glass in place and the roof tiedowns. Protection from solar exposure included sloped walls, glass coatings, and cantilevered eaves.
But it's not only the effect of the environment on the building that was considered. The LEED standards are concerned with how the building impacts the environment: LEED is based on an approach sustainability that recognizing performance in five areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. The Condé Nast building at 4 Times Square became the first LEED-certified high-rise building in America in 1999. Many government and corporate entities are adopting LEED standards, but few buildings have met the requirements. If it works here, it may be proof that while golf courses might not be environmentally friendly, the clubhouses can be.