40 over 40: Fascinated by nature, Bob Fox makes a career of being green

Growing up in the “small farming town” of Red Hook, New York, Bob Fox enjoyed going on hikes with his dog. Fox says he was “fascinated by nature,” always wondering how things worked and why they looked the way they did. His curiosity eventually led to a career as a globally renowned architect and one of New York City’s most highly respected leaders in the green building movement. And he’s racked up numerous honors along the way from local and national groups. He was also the only architect named to the mayor’s advisory council for the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, helping plan ambitious goals for the city’s future.

My advice to any young person is to never be afraid to say ‘I don’t know.’ You will learn an awful lot more by saying ‘I don’t know’ instead of making up an answer.

In 2003, Fox and Rick Cook co-founded COOKFOX Architects, a firm dedicated to environmentally responsible buildings. They are best known for designing the gleaming Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, the first commercial skyscraper to receive the highest marks from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 74-year-old entrepreneur’s latest enterprise is Terrapin Bright Green, a consulting firm that incorporates nature into architectural design. He has a team of researchers on the 10th floor of WeWork Charging Bull, where they enjoy views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. “Connection to nature,” he says, “is one of the most important things we can have as humans.”

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