Architect, professor and writer Witold Rybczynski describes the new KieranTimberlake studio as a "model of 21st century office space" in an article in Architect magazine. Rybczynski visited the office in April and interviewed founding partner Stephen Kieran and researcher Roderick Bates.
Rybczynski says the new office is not a showpiece but a hands-on workplace—whose glassed-in fabrication shop is the first view that greets visitors entering the building. The article draws on studies of workplace psychology and human comfort, mentioning the natural light and fresh air that are key features of this renovated industrial building, as well as the flexibility for employees to make choices about their workspace by moving desks and reconfiguring spaces.
The new studio's sustainability attributes include a cooling strategy that foregoes air conditioning in favor of opening windows in the monitor, using exhaust fans, supplying night-cooled air via the floor plenum, and dehumidifying the air. Rybczynski describes this as a "daring experiment" during a Philadelphia summer—one that involves 400 temperature and humidity sensors embedded in the building and regular surveys of KieranTimberlake's 100-person staff regarding their comfort levels.
A recent public meeting on the new design for LOVE Park included the announcement by Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation department, Hargreaves Associates, and KieranTimberlake that the renovated park will retain the iconic Welcome Center beloved by many Philadelphians.
The round, mid-century modern building was designed in the late 1950s and was a symbol of optimism in post-war Philadelphia as many American urban centers went into a long period of decline. Its continuing popularity among the public was revealed during Penn Praxis-led civic engagement efforts that preceded design work for LOVE Park.
Architects and researchers from KieranTimberlake are speaking across the country this spring at a range of venues on themes related to environmental responsibility in architecture.
Earlier this month, Stephen Kieran spoke with Harvard GSD students on the strategies, tools, and tactics for integrated practice. On April 14, Stephanie Carlisle presents to the Society for College and University Planning on strengthening sustainability action plans through expanding the scope of carbon assessments, along with Steven Baumgartner, Energy and Environmental Planner at BuroHappold Engineering, and Bret Pasinella, Senior Manager of Innovative Services at Second Nature. That same day, David Riz takes part in a plenary session at the BEST4 Conference with Steve Kemp, Manager of Sustainable Building at MMM Group Limited, and John Straube, Building Scientist at the University of Waterloo.
Matthew Krissel discusses high-performance envelopes before a sold-out crowd at the Facades+ workshop on April 17. At the 2015 AIA Convention in Atlanta on May 14, Efrie Friedlander and Jason Smith reveal how our Revit plug-in called Tally® can make Life Cycle Assessment one of many influencing factors in developing a sustainable building design.
Architectural Record recently featured Pound Ridge House on its list of Record Houses for 2015. The list includes eight residential projects that "push the limits of spatial concepts and materiality or refine the existing vocabulary in imaginative ways"—including examples from Los Angeles, Tokyo, Marbella, and elsewhere.
Pound Ridge House is a 5,000 square-foot single-family home located on a wooded, boulder-strewn site in the town of Pound Ridge, New York. The home exists in unique harmony with its natural surroundings, its exterior walls creating a visual display that varies with time of day, season, and quality of light. As the author writes, "The cladding performs almost as camouflage, especially at the corners, where the use of the mirrorlike stainless-steel panels makes the building's edges practically disappear."
On the Rocks: A house wrapped in a sophisticated skin makes the most of a site with challenging topography. By Joann Gonchar, AIA
In spite of high-profile projects like the U.S. embassy now under construction in London, Philadelphia-based architecture firm KieranTimberlake still sometimes accepts commissions for challenging single-family houses. “They are an opportunity to try out things that would be tougher on a larger project,” says design partner Stephen Kieran.
Susan Richardson of NewsWorks/WHYY recently visited KieranTimberlake's new workspace inside the former bottling plant of the Henry F. Ortlieb brewery in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. In her blog titled Human at Work, she discusses the ways in which the renovated plant adapts to the needs of workers, rather than asking workers to adapt to it.
Calling the open-plan studio a "cathedral-like space," Richardson says that her favorite part is the abundant natural light spilling in at the top and the edges. She quotes founding partner Stephen Kieran as saying, "Time happens in this space...The sun moves through the space and arcs through it, beginning with the east side with a beam that moves across the floor. It's truly a spiritual experience—that abundance of natural light—that's so absent from corporate office spaces."
Last winter, KieranTimberlake team members installed 150 temperature sensors at Richardson Memorial Hall, Tulane University’s School of Architecture. Over the summer, the sensor platform was reactivated and augmented with the addition of relative humidity sensors. We initiated the summer monitoring to answer two primary questions: How comfortable is a historic building on Tulane’s campus in the thick of the summer cooling season? And, can monitoring be used to reveal deficiencies in the existing envelope and HVAC system?
The summer monitoring results were quite striking when contrasted to the winter results. During the winter, significant temperature stratification and asymmetries in mean radiant temperature (MRT) were found within the building, while in the summer, data pointed to conditions that were both comfortable and consistent.
Architect magazine recently featured KieranTimberlake in an article about the fusion of design and research at select top firms—including the embedding of new specialized roles like computational designers and materials and sustainability experts among designers. KieranTimberlake, Perkins+Will, and The Living are three firms profiled for integrating research into design processes and services. The author spoke with Billie Faircloth about KieranTimberlake's research ethic, which she says is "intrinsic to what we do."
Three Top Firms That are Pursuing Design Research
Perkins+Will, The Living, and KieranTimberlake are among a new class of architectural practices investing in research. By Daniel Davis
In architecture, it can be difficult to determine where research ends and practice begins. In sectors such as medicine and aerospace, research is distinct from the rest of the business. But architectural research tends to mix with practice. Some argue that design and research are intertwined—that architects are conducting research as their design process leads them to better understand the site and other peculiarities of the project. In this guise, all design is a form of research.
While design may be considered as a form of research, not all research is a form of design. Ajla Aksamija, leader of Perkins+Will’s Tech Lab and co-organizer for this year’s Architectural Research Centers Consortium, says that differentiating between actual research and mere marketing is essential. Firms may claim to do research as part of their design initiatives, but historically, few firms have actually invested in research.
The Quaker Meeting House and Arts Center at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, has been rated LEED® Platinum—the highest level of environmental certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The building represents a maximum reuse of existing resources, transforming a large former gymnasium built in the 1950s into a space of filtered light and silent contemplation. As a retrofit, it does not add additional embodied energy nor create a greater footprint that would impact stormwater flows. The project also makes use of reclaimed materials wherever possible. To eliminate the need for harvesting standing timber, the oak flooring and paneling of the meeting room were made from reclaimed wood sourced from barns in West Virginia and Maryland. New pervious paving in the front courtyard makes use of concrete removed during the renovation to create a porous infill that minimizes stormwater runoff, which causes flooding, erosion, and pollution of local waterways.
KieranTimberlake is delighted to announce the elevation of five new partners at the firm. We celebrate this pivotal moment in our design practice, which has steadily grown to nearly 100 people over the thirty years since our founding in 1984. The new partners—Billie Faircloth, Matthew Krissel, Richard Maimon, David Mark Riz, and Jason E. Smith—have collectively realized dozens of award-winning projects across the country and around the world.
Founding partners Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake are excited about continuing to develop the firm’s design and research efforts with the contributions and guidance of these new partners, each of whom brings unique perspective and experience to help grow, evolve, and move the practice forward.
"These five talented individuals who span three generations have been so instrumental to the ongoing development of the firm," remarks James Timberlake. "They bring truly exciting possibilities to broadening and expanding our thinking about design, research, and the advancement of architecture."
Stephen Kieran comments, "The new partners have demonstrated their capacity to extend our firm and its culture of innovation into an ever-growing realm of inquiry and influence. They are leaders that are committed to asking and resolving the hard questions that move architecture forward."