Last month, the Architect's Newspapers blog highlighted KieranTimberlake's work on The Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI). The two-part project located in Philadelphia's Navy Yard consists of both the retrofit of an existing mid-century building and the new construction of a classroom and laboratory facility, with the goal of creating a welcoming, versatile, and above all, energy-efficient space.
Though the article touched on a variety of the project's features, including its passive solar strategies, a gray water reuse system, and geothermal wells, it mainly focused on the new building's façade. This new structure, officially called the Center for Building Energy Education & Innovation, is east-west oriented, and as such presented architects with a unique challenge: how can the building maintain a connection with the outside environment and harness natural light while simultaneously diffusing its harshness and glare? The answer to this question can be found in the facility's innovative building envelope.
Comprised of two different façades featuring two different materials, the center's building envelope uses a combination of low-tech solutions and innovative designs to increase the energy performance of the building. The south wall's façade is constructed out of brick, a material that not only pays homage to the site's history as the Philadelphia Navy Yard, but also helps to tie the new construction into the existing buildings on the campus. The staggered brick acts a sun shade, both filtering the natural light that comes into the center as well as managing heat gain. Because of its design, the façade eliminates the need for mechanical shades and allows the building to spend less energy on temperature regulation.
At the 2015 Greenbuild Conference in Washington DC, KieranTimberlake researcher Roderick Bates presented regarding the evolution of Tally®, the firm’s custom Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool for designers. Speaking to a room of sustainable building practitioners and advocates, Bates explained how this tool has the unique capacity to allow designers to quickly assess the environmental implications of different materials used in their projects. As an example, his presentation articulated KieranTimberlake’s experience using Tally in the selection of materials for Brown University's new School of Engineering building. Motivated by Brown’s vision for sustainability at the new School of Engineering, architects utilized Tally analytics throughout schematic design to select materials that would minimize the building’s environmental impacts. Prior to KieranTimberlake’s development of Tally, holistically considering LCA information during material selection was tedious and inefficient. Previously, comparing two types of wall constructions would have required lengthy calculations involving material types, material volumes, and manufacturing reports. Instead, Tally enables designers to pull material impact data from an environmental database developed by the company thinkstep. Tally integrates this data into architects’ BIM models and allows them to run streamlined life cycle assessments on complex systems such as construction assemblies or full buildings.
One of KieranTimberlake's Community Involvement initiatives was featured in the most recent issue of Context, the AIA Philadelphia chapter's quarterly journal. The article focused specifically on KieranTimberlake's pro bono involvement in the Community Design Collaborative's pursuit to repurpose Philadelphia's vacant school buildings in weaker real estate markets.
The project, known as Reactivating Public Schools, revolved around a design charrette held at the 2014 Design on the Delaware Conference. In this charrette, a team consisting of volunteer design professionals, neighborhood residents, private developers, and nonprofit organizations all collaborated to design both short- and long-term renovations for two different vacant school buildings (the M. Hall Stanton School and the Old Frances Willard School).
A team of more than twenty KieranTimberlake volunteers then assembled the concepts discussed during the conference in order to create a report that was published in Grid magazine in August 2015. The report outlines several different temporary and permanent design options, with each concept taking into account both the needs of the community and the desire for neighborhood revitalization. Additionally, the report highlights the potential of these vacant schools to private and nonprofit developers alike.
KieranTimberlake's design for the soon-to-be-renovated LOVE Park was recently featured on Uwishunu, a popular website that creates buzz about Philadelphia's cultural attractions.
LOVE Park's new design, conceived in partnership with Hargreaves Associates, strikes a balance between preserving the beloved features of the park, such as the famous LOVE Statue by Robert Indiana, and improving on the park's current amenities by adding more green space, a new fountain, and a reorganized layout. The current Welcome Center, referred to affectionately as "The Flying Saucer" by local residents, is also slated for renovation. The mid-century modern building, originally constructed in the 1950s, will keep its iconic shape while receiving some energy-efficient upgrades in the form of frameless glass windows, a green roof, and new lighting technology.
The LOVE Park renovation comes on the heels of the completion of KieranTimberlake's Dilworth Park project, and the design has been heralded by Uwishunu for its use of greenery in the space, as well as its commitment to preserving the well-known aspects of the park. "While we'll miss the park while it's closed for renovation," the blog stated, "we're pretty sure the wait will be worth it."
The Pennsylvania chapter of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) honored KieranTimberlake last month at the 2015 Annual Architectural Excellence Design and Special Awards. Held at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the awards ceremony recognized over 35 Pennsylvania firms and individuals who were selected from a pool of nearly 150 applicants.
Joining a list of honorees that included Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (Government Award winner) and the iconic Vanna Venturi House (50 Year/Timeless Award winner), KieranTimberlake was the recipient of the Firm Award. The award is given annually to the firm that consistently encourages collaboration while contributing innovative designs to the field of architecture. Selected to receive the award by a jury panel from AIA New York City chaired by renowned architect Thomas Phifer, FAIA, KieranTimberlake was heralded by the AIA as a "leader in practice-based architectural research and sustainable environments".
Ground broke on Brown University’s new School of Engineering research facility last month. The new four story building will create 20 new cutting-edge laboratory modules, including two specialized nanoscale and biomedical engineering laboratories, and will add 80,000 square feet of space. The addition comes at a good time for the School of Engineering, which expects to see its number of undergraduate students double between 2007 and 2017. The new facility will be able to house 15 faculty members, approximately 20 research associates, 80 graduate students, and a large number of undergraduate students.
Designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration, the new facility connects with the engineering and physics building via bridges on each of the three levels. Its proximity to other department buildings, including the chemistry and computer sciences departments, further facilitates cross-disciplinary partnerships.
In addition to its central location on campus, the building’s layout also serves to encourage collaboration amongst various academic fields. An open design plan will allow various research groups to stay connected with their peers in other disciplines, while also keeping the space flexible. Larry Larson, Brown University’s dean of engineering, stated that “the idea is to build a community around these sciences. We envision this new building and the surrounding green space as a vibrant gathering place.”
This project represents Brown’s first use of integrated project delivery (IPD) at a whole-building scale. KieranTimberlake is working closely with the construction manager Shawmut, as well as with the client, to engage a full range of IPD strategies including colocation, trade partner coordination, in-depth pull planning sessions, and implementation of lean design principles.
Part of KieranTimberlake's Community Involvement program, Mars City is a pro bono project that seeks to better engage students in an educational virtual reality simulation.
KieranTimberlake was recently featured on an episode of the KCRW radio show, Design and Architecture. The segment, entitled “Is Mars Habitable?” focuses on Mars City, an immersive, interactive, and educational 3D simulation of a human colony on Mars. The pro bono project is intended for students ranging from high school physics scholars to architecture undergraduates, and has recently generated some buzz following the success of Matt Damon’s new film The Martian.
Designed to be a self-sustaining environment for approximately 100 people, Mars City is comprised of several different modules that are constructed using 3D printed materials. Students involved in the simulation are responsible for troubleshooting any issues that arise, as well as for making all necessary repairs.
Partnering with Kerry Joels and the Total Learning Research Institute, KieranTimberlake has been evolving the design of this educational tool in order to create a more engaging and realistic virtual environment for the students involved in the project. Through a virtual reality simulation, students will ultimately be able to walk through a complete and fully finished Mars City in order to asses potential problems.
In thinking of the completed Mars City design, Lea Oxenhandler and Fatima Olivieri, both of KieranTimberlake, explain that one of the unique challenges of building on Mars is creating a sense of home for humans in an environment that does not allow easy access to the outdoors. To overcome this difficulty, Mars City is working on incorporating nature into its design, whether that be through windows that let in natural light, common areas to create a sense of public and private spaces, or an open design that gives the illusion of space. One of the key questions that the Mars City project hopes to answer, according to Olivieri, is “what type of material can be functional, but can also start to create a sense of place and create a sense of home?”
Last month marked the annual conference for the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA). This year's conference, which was held at the University of Cincinnati School of Architecture and Interior Design, saw KieranTimberlake honored with the Digital Practice Award of Excellence. The award is given to the firm that best elevates the field of architecture through digital design and media.
Brad Bell, an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington's College of Architecture Planning and Public Affairs, presented the award to KieranTimberlake partners Billie Faircloth and Matthew Krissel. "What I believe is unique in KieranTimberlake's design process is how they continually foster productive dialogue," he said in his introductory remarks. "By establishing a culture of questioning within the full design process, innovation has emerged as a dominate outcome of their work."
KieranTimberlake is excited to announce that Dilworth Park has received the Gold Medal at the 2015 Design Awards Gala, hosted by the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The Gold Medal is awarded to the single built work that exemplifies the highest design quality. This award is the second that the AIA has conferred onto Dilworth Park, which previously received the Silver Medal (awarded to the most exemplary unbuilt project) at the 2011 AIA Design Awards Gala.
The redesign created a more dignified civic plaza with a calm structure so as to not interfere with Philadelphia’s grand and exuberant city hall. In addition to improving access both to the subways and across the park, the design includes a raised lawn, a fountain with an integrated art installation and a cafe with both indoor and outdoor seating. The jury recognizes it as “a truly civic project that is inclusive and allows for many types of people to coexist happily”.
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is an evolving discourse that offers an alternative to the traditional design-bid-build model of creating a new building from design through construction. With the traditional sequential model, an architect designs the building, then construction contractors bid on the job, and finally the building is constructed. Design and construction teams generally remain distinct and distant from one another. By contrast, IPD methodology utilizes a parallel process, which dictates that the entire project team—from owner to architect to construction manager, consultants, and subcontractors—come together at the start of the design process and develop the project jointly through continuous collaboration. Contractually, all participants are bound together as equals, and behavioral principles require mutual respect and trust, willingness to collaborate, and open communication.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) says that “IPD motivates collaboration throughout the design and construction process, tying stakeholder success to project success.” In other words, each stakeholder is more deeply embedded in all aspects of the process, and his or her input and collaboration is likewise integral to the project’s success.