In the Mongolian city of Ulaanbaatar, the cold climate and air pollution go hand in hand. The city is the coldest capital on earth, and its population relies largely on coal to survive the harsh winters.
Compounding the problem is the city's rapid growth—a shortage of long-term housing means that a third of Ulaanbaatar's population, many who migrate from rural areas, make their homes in gers, traditional Mongolian dwellings whose domed shape and portability are uniquely suited to a nomadic lifestyle. Usually heated by coal stoves, gers can contain many of the toxins associated with pneumonia, bronchitis, and other illnesses. As a result, 42% of Mongolia's children suffer from pollution-related health effects and Ulaanbaatar is home to the most toxic air on earth.
To help reduce the city's pollution and bring cleaner air to its residents, a UNICEF Innovation team including KieranTimberlake, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, and others traveled to Ulaanbaatar to reimagine the traditional ger. By incorporating better insulation and healthier heating options, the team aims to maintain ger culture while also helping families save money and breathe easier.
During the trip, which was recently featured in Forbes, the team built their own traditional ger and met with community members to better understand their wants and needs. The lessons learned from these experiences informed a series of prototypes currently in development that test different materials and technologies. The final prototypes will be evaluated in Ulaanbaatar in the winter of 2019.
To learn more about the project and how you can help, click here.
The Northern Liberties Neighbors Association (NLNA) recently celebrated the opening of its new Pavilion designed by KieranTimberlake's Community Involvement group and funded through a grant from the Penn Treaty Special Services District. Located just a few blocks from our studio, the NLNA Pavilion provides a permanent landscaped space for the community to host many types of events.
Earlier this month, KieranTimberlake researchers Billie Faircloth, Christopher Connock, and Ryan Welch attended the Smartgeometry conference in Toronto and conducted a week-long workshop called "Materials as Probes." The workshop was an outgrowth of an ongoing research collaboration between KieranTimberlake and the Center for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA) in Denmark about the design potential of thermodynamic modeling.
At KieranTimberlake, we use several mediums at one time to develop our designs. That means it's important for us to move between sketches, computer models, and physical prototypes with ease. We also want our entire team, including experts and non-experts alike, to engage with our digital models in order to derive insight from what they see and contribute to the design process. One of the tools we've tested to achieve this ideal collaboration and integration is Modelo, a web-based application for presenting 3D and virtual reality models. The results have been so positive that when the company asked us to share our experience with their product in a video, we were happy to oblige.
To learn more about some of the other technologies we use in our design process, clickhere.
To see more Modelo content featuring Partner Matthew Krissel's speculation on the architecture in the next 5–10 years, click here.
Did you know that the average low-income American can only afford to spend $5.20 on food per day? This past year, KieranTimberlake partnered with local hunger relief organization Philabundance to develop an app, called CAN-opy, that generated awareness and donations through a game that challenges users to create a balanced meal with just $5.20. In total we've raised over $10,000, but we want you to help us raise even more. Starting today, if you play our game and donate, KieranTimberlake will match your gift, up to $25,000.
When we moved into our new studio last year, we loved that it gave us more room to create. Whether it's full-sized building mockups or a high-stakes maple syrup cook-off, 2015 has been a year of making for all of us at KieranTimberlake. We asked our colleagues to reflect on their most notable creative acts of the past year, and here's what they told us. How will you make the best of 2016?
KieranTimberlake partner Matthew Krissel presented on the topic of digital design culture at KA Connect 2015, a knowledge management conference for the AEC industry.
He talked about how KieranTimberlake created a platform to facilitate knowledge sharing and innovation—with a focus on the firm's members, and their relationships to one another, rather than solely the tools they would use. By developing a formalized network of exploratory behavior in the office, team members could experiment with and even implement new technologies in a matter of months. Watch as he describes the facets of this platform at KA Connect.
Following on the recent announcement of five new partners, ten staff members have been named associates of the firm. As KieranTimberlake has continued to grow and take on new projects both nationally and internationally, additional leadership opportunities have emerged. These individuals have helped shape the development of the practice over the past decade. They have been recognized for their extensive design and research experience, their leadership qualities, their commitment to excellence in their work, and their service to the firm.
Founding partner James Timberlake remarked, “Stephen Kieran and I join our new partners in welcoming the new associates to the management group of the firm. They all have been creative and active participants in advancing the firm agenda and culture. We look forward to their contributions as the firm continues to design, innovate, and invent new worlds.”
KieranTimberlake's leadership now includes seven partners and 19 associates in an office of nearly one hundred professionals.
Inspired by our book on Loblolly House, clients in California asked us to design an off-site fabricated home uniquely tuned to their steeply sloped site in the mountains of Mendocino County. The clients, a physician and a Silicon Valley electrical engineer turned artist, envisioned the home as a weekend getaway from San Francisco. It includes a 2,600 square-foot house and two free-standing studio structures of 300 square feet each.
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."