/ Buildings / Montroy DeMarco Architecture-designed U.S. Headquarters Office of SOCOTEC in Manhattan Receives LEED CI v4 Platinum Certification

Montroy DeMarco Architecture-designed U.S. Headquarters Office of SOCOTEC in Manhattan Receives LEED CI v4 Platinum Certification

Parul Dubey on January 3, 2024 - in Buildings, News

The highlight of the suite is a centrally located, 2,000-square foot open space that serves as a co-working area, technical library, pantry, and event and presentation space. Photo by Ola Wilk Photography


New York, NY – A newly completed, 11,000-square foot U.S. headquarters office of SOCOTEC, Inc. (formerly Vidaris, Inc.) designed by Montroy DeMarco Architecture (MDA), received LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council. LEED Platinum is the highest level of certification, indicating an ultimate degree of sustainability through energy efficient design and building systems, recycled and environmentally responsible materials, and sustainable operations and practices. At the time of its certification, SOCOTEC’s headquarters was one of only six LEED CI v4 Platinum certified projects in New York State.

SOCOTEC is a leading provider of sustainability and high-performance consulting and design services in the construction, real estate, and infrastructure sectors. The new office, originally designed for Vidaris prior to its acquisition by SOCOTEC, is located on the 24th floor of the One Five One tower, at 151 West 42nd Street, at the convergence of Broadway and Times Square. MDA’s designers, in a close collaboration with SOCOTEC’s internal sustainability consulting team, developed the design, implemented construction procedures, and selected materials and systems that meet the requirements of the LEED Platinum certification.

According to SOCOTEC Principal John Amatruda, RA, LEED Fellow, BREEAM International Assessor, “When our previous lease at 360 Park Avenue in Manhattan expired, we looked upon it as an opportunity to rethink our office environment and associated work practices.” At that time, the firm also maintained several smaller satellite offices throughout New York City, all of which had been impacted by workplace changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our firm’s leadership determined that a hybrid work environment – where the majority of the staff would divide their time between field work, home, and office – would be most suitable for the firm’s operations, and called upon Montroy DeMarco Architecture to design it. The new office has enabled us to both consolidate space as well as to create a highly collaborative, energetic and sustainable workplace that is well suited for a hybrid working model,” added Amatruda.

“Through the use of a flexible seating concept and numerous collaborative and social spaces, the new office accommodates all of the programmatic needs in a footprint that is nearly 20% smaller than Vidaris’ previous office space,” explained MDA Partner Daniel Montroy, AIA. “The project’s total cost was approximately $4 million,” he added.

Following its acquisition of Vidaris, SOCOTEC an international firm headquartered in France, supported the design of the new U.S. headquarters office. European executives and colleagues now use the new space when visiting New York.

One Five One was constructed in 1999 and is regarded as the first green skyscraper in the United States. The building has since been LEED Gold certified. Vidaris has worked extensively with the landlord, The Durst Organization, on both One Five One when it was originally designed and many other projects. “We were thrilled to work with Durst, our long-standing client, on the development of our new office space,” said Amatruda. “As a landlord, Durst has been very supportive of our sustainability initiatives and design efforts, and has assisted us in optimizing and testing the base building MEP systems.”

The landlord, The Durst Organization, also served as Construction Manager. The contractor was Cross Management Corporation and ME Engineers served as the MEP designer.

The central social, pantry and library section doubles as an event space and features a large movable projection screen. Photo by Ola Wilk Photography


Office Layout and Finishes

According to MDA Project Manager Sarah Bigos, “The office occupies the south half of the building floor and is wrapped on the east, south and west sides with large windows that flood the space with natural light and enhance employee well-being. The layout is planned around several functional areas. The reception area faces a 16-seat 490-square foot boardroom that is flanked by two executive offices, two smaller meeting rooms, each of 230 square feet, and several additional offices. Each of these rooms has glass partition walls facing the central corridor so that light and views can be appreciated by the other staff.”

“The highlight of the suite is a centrally located, 2,000-square foot open space, located adjacent to the executive office section and facing the curved exterior building wall. It serves as a co-working area, technical library, pantry, and event and presentation space,” explains Tom Yeh, MDA Job Captain. The pantry features an L-shaped counter along the interior wall and an L-shaped bar height island with traditional kitchen appliances, as well taps for both coffee and beer. It is finished with black millwork, a black, white, and gray tile backsplash, gray Cesarstone counter tops in a concrete finish, and a white island base. The black finishes contrast sharply with the adjacent co-working space that features a multi-seat work counter along a section of the window wall, several small meeting tables and a combination of soft and hard seating in white, neutral, and orange colors. The space was designed to be flexible, informal, and comfortable. Furniture can be easily moved to accommodate different seating needs. A large retractable projection screen is located at one end of the space, so that it can be converted into a presentation area when needed.

Two separate workplace wings are located to the east and west of the central co-working/pantry and executive areas. Technical departments, including Envelope Consulting, Architectural Testing Certification and Inspection, Engineering Testing Inspection and Certification, and the Code Advisory Department, are located in an area of shared workstations bordered by glass faced interior offices and a meeting room. The Accounting and Administrative departments have a more traditional layout with assigned workstations and additional private offices. Standing desks are used throughout the office to give employees the option of sitting or standing as they work.

“The office can accommodate up to 120 people. Approximately 40% of the employees are transient workers who do extensive field work and come to the office sporadically,” shared Glen Walker, SOCOTEC’s Chief Administrative Officer. “The feedback we have received from our employees regarding the new office space is very positive. They enjoy the flexible seating, open space and windows, and the upscale, hip environment.”

MDA worked closely with SOCOTEC’s Energy and Sustainability team and the firm’s leadership to develop a collaborative aesthetic for the space, and all materials were selected specifically to be highly sustainable. The palette throughout the suite is a combination of light and neutral tones. An FSC-certified engineered wood flooring in a white oak finish extends through reception, the boardroom area, and the pantry. Carpet tile by Patcraft is used in the offices and open workstation areas and is inset below the table in the boardroom. The muted grey patterned carpet is typically manufactured as a broadloom, but Vidaris worked with Patcraft to modify the product into carpet squares so that a LEED compliant backing could be used.

Glass partitions with sliding doors by Tagwall separate the offices from the central spaces. In the boardroom, the wall telescopes so that the room and the reception area can be merged into one contiguous space. One wall in the reception area is faced with a custom decorative fluted wood panel in a white painted finish by Textures-3D to add visual interest to the space.

Suspended gypsum board ceilings extend through the reception area and corridors, and acoustic tile ceilings are used in offices. The boardroom ceiling features a gypsum board border with an inset of four-foot square acoustic tiles. In contrast, the open areas feature K13 acoustical cellulose insulation sprayed on the underside of the deck and painted white to maximize the ceiling height while providing sound attenuation. 

The designers incorporated several innovative concepts into the lighting and power systems. Duplex electrical receptacles at workstations and offices have been designed so that power for each upper outlet, utilized for task lights and auxiliary items, shuts down at 8:00 p.m. to conserve energy, while each lower outlet that supplies power to computers and essential equipment is active 24/7. Occupancy and vacancy sensors are also used to control lighting, and a Lutron programmable control system adjusts light usage based on daylighting conditions and the season. Lighting fixtures are by National Lighting.

Sustainability and changing workplace dynamics drove design

As a specialist in the field of sustainability, SOCOTEC imposed a clear philosophy that drove the project design. “We feel strongly that every company needs to be a responsible corporate citizen. Sustainability must be incorporated into all activities as part of accountable business practice to minimize the corporate environmental footprint,” said Amatruda.

MDA consulted closely with SOCOTEC’s leadership and employees to understand their use of the space before final design began. As Bigos explained, “The model of the space was shared with employees to obtain their input regarding functionality and sustainability issues.”

The final design successfully addressed a shift in the corporate paradigm. Perhaps the most important lesson learned from this project is that architects and their corporate clients need to work collaboratively to accommodate employee expectations, changing technology, and shifts in workplace culture.  

LEED certification highlights:


  • Energy use reduction: 14.2% as compared to LEED’s ASHRAE 90.1 baseline
  • Water use reductions: 35.1% as compared to code
  • Sustainable materials: 31.7% of materials by cost used recycled content or FSC certified wood
  • Embodied carbon: architectural materials were selected to achieve in excess of 20% reduction in embodied carbon as compared to standard products
  • Construction waste recycling: 78.2% diversion rate from five waste streams
  • Daylighting: 41.6% of the regularly occupied floor area meets LEED criteria
  • Quality views: 75.1% of the regularly occupied floor area meets LEED criteria
  • Carbon dioxide monitoring: monitors are provided in all high occupancy spaces to ensure appropriate outside air delivery
  • IAQ sensors: monitors are used to track TVOCs, temperature, RH, CO2, and other air quality metrics
  • Green Power purchases: offsets were purchased representing 66.4% of the office’s annual energy use for 10 years



The SOCOTEC Group, headed by Hervé Montjotin, has built its reputation over 70 years as an independent trusted partner assisting companies in the areas of quality, health and safety, and the environment.

SOCOTEC’s mission is to ensure the integrity and performance of building and infrastructure assets and people’s safety. Through its inspection and measurement, assistance and consultancy, and training and certification services, SOCOTEC helps to optimize the performance of companies in every sector by managing the risks inherent in their activities. Drawing on its expertise and positioning itself as a long-term partner, SOCOTEC supports its clients throughout their project’s lifecycle.

In the U.S., SOCOTEC is a leading provider of specialty consulting services within the Testing, Inspection & Certification (TIC) industry, focusing on high-performance buildings and specialty structures. With an integrated, holistic approach, SOCOTEC experts provide solutions through 6 service lines: Building Envelope, Energy & Sustainability, Code & Planning, Dispute Resolution, Project Advisory, and Specialty Engineering. In the United States, SOCOTEC employs 400 professionals in 25 offices. Chief Executive Officer Marc Weissbach, AIA manages SOCOTEC’s US Division.

As a leader in construction inspection and a major player in TIC for the construction and infrastructure sectors, the SOCOTEC Group has 200,000 clients and operates in 23 countries, with 9,000 employees and over 250 external recognitions. Please view www.socotec.com and www.socotec.us for more information.

Montroy DeMarco Architecture

Based in New York City, Montroy DeMarco Architecture (MDA) is a prominent architecture and planning firm predominantly serving office, commercial, institutional, retail, multi-family, senior housing, and hospitality markets in the greater New York area. MDA’s affiliate Montroy Andersen DeMarco (MADGI) provides interior design services to commercial, institutional, and multi-family clients. Three principals lead the studios: Daniel Montroy, AIA; Richard J. DeMarco, AIA; and Steven Andersen. The affiliated firms employ 30 architects, interior designers, LEED professionals, project managers, and support staff. Building Design & Construction magazine recently ranked the firm as the 82nd largest workplace designer and the 155th largest designer overall in the United States. Engineering News-Record lists MDA as the 87th largest design firm in the New York/New Jersey region.

MDA’s markets include commercial, office, retail, entertainment, institutional, educational, and residential and mixed-use redevelopments and new buildings. The firm is recognized for its expertise in commercial property conversions and market repositionings. Headed by principals, the specialized studios have served as designer for some of the most innovative – and challenging – projects in New York City. MDA is known for its design quality and expertise in cost control, technology, and addressing complex zoning regulations.

The firm was the design force behind the headquarters offices of a multitude of global corporate bluebloods and technology firms such as TravelClick, National Futures Association, SOCOTEC, Mediabistro, and Mimeo, among others. MADGI’s recent corporate interior work also includes the 150,000-sq.-ft. East Hanover, N.J., U.S. headquarters and laboratories and the 75,000-sq.-ft. Manhattan offices and testing labs of Givaudan Fragrance. The studio has designed more than 10 million square feet of office and common use space for both tenants and leading commercial landlords in New York City, including Colliers International, Capital Properties, The Durst Organization, John Hancock, and Barings.  

MDA’s architectural, executive design, and design collaborations portfolio includes the 230-room citizenM New York hotel in Times Square; the 183,000-sq.-ft., 17-story 20 East End Avenue luxury condominium; The Dillon Townhouses and Condominiums, a 205,000-sq.-ft residential complex at 425 West 53rd Street that received an AIA New York State Award of Merit; the 11-story 560 West 24th Street luxury condominium; the 82,000-sq.-ft. Soori Highline luxury condominium on West 29th Street; and the market repositioning of the 100,000-sq.-ft. 160 Fifth Avenue office tower in Manhattan as well as the $330 million redevelopment of The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights luxury senior living community in Brooklyn, NY and the 10-story, 85-apartment Silver Star residential/retail mixed-use building in Long Island City, NY.

MDA recently served as the architect for two of the most prominent tourist attractions in Manhattan: One World Observatory – the 90,000-sq.-ft. observation deck and retail space atop the new World Trade Center, and the renovated landmark Rainbow Room on top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The firm’s retail projects include multiple store locations of U.S. Polo Assn., Camper, and Zara; two New York City locations of Bill’s Bar & Burger; the La Pavilion, Rogue, Le Coq Rico and la Brasserie restaurants in Manhattan; the Discovery TSX retail/entertainment space in Times Square; and showrooms of Jordache and PEM America. Additional information: www.montroydemarco.com and www.madgi.com 


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