November 18, 2013

Tally™ Revit App Available Now

Tally™, a new Revit application that allows designers to measure the environmental impact of building materials, is available for a limited time as a free download through the Tally™ website and Autodesk Labs. It is being offered as a public beta from November 19 to February 28, 2014. During the beta phase, software developer KieranTimberlake, together with life cycle data provider PE INTERNATIONAL and software development partner Autodesk, will collect feedback on the technology from Autodesk customers.


Public previews are scheduled November 19-22 at Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia. Product demonstrations will be held at the Autodesk booth on Wednesday, November 20, 1:30-2:30 pm, and Thursday, November 21, 3:00-4:00 pm.

November 18, 2013

Assessing Green Roofs at Cities Alive

Few studies track the dynamics of green roof plant species over the long term. In this study, researchers returned to survey vegetation of two green roofs several years after their initial establishment.

Environmental researchers Stephanie Carlisle and Max Piana recently presented green roof research findings at the 11th annual Cities Alive Conference in San Francisco, attended by international green roof professionals, designers, and researchers. The theme of this year's conference was resilience, with presentations and research exploring the many ways in which green roofs and walls contribute to social, environmental, and economic resiliency within our cities. The role of green roofs in urban water management and the potential for agriculturally-based green roofs were topics of particular interest.  

Growing Resilience: Long Term Plant Dynamics and Green Roof Performance

Focusing on studies of two mature green roofs, one intensive and the other extensive, Stephanie and Max discussed changes in green roof vegetation, challenging the audience to consider the long-term dynamics and transformations of these living systems. Questions under consideration included:  

  • How does green roof vegetation change over time?
  • How does vegetation performance relate to building and site context?
  • How do the growth trajectories of an extensive and intensive green roof compare?

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November 13, 2013

US Embassy Breaks Ground

The embassy site at Nine Elms, on London's South Bank. © US Embassy London

The new US embassy in London broke ground today in a ceremony that included Ambassador Matthew Barzun, Director of Overseas Building Operations Lydia Muniz, and Leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia. The embassy, which will stand on a 4.9-acre site in the Nine Elms neighborhood on the South Bank of the Thames, is expected to be completed in 2017. Its design reflects values of transparency, openness, and equality as well as leading-edge measures of environmental responsibility, including an energy-gathering envelope and on-site water management system.

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November 08, 2013

Watch: Home from Rome

A sketch by Steve Kieran of the facade of the Palazzo Maccarini in Rome, one of the buildings he "disassembled" during a one-year fellowship in the city.

As part of the Home from Rome series sponsored by the American Academy in Rome, Steve Kieran delivered a lecture this week entitled "Carrying Rome." His lecture traced a passage back to his 1980-81 fellowship in Rome and its influence on thirty years of making architecture.  
While in Rome, Steve made more than 3,000 index card-sized sketches that continue to inform design at KieranTimberlake. His drawing of the Palazzo Maccarani, in particular, allowed him to disassemble the entire facade, completed in 1532, to understand how architect Giulio Romano established then flouted convention and then pointed a rhetorical finger at it (minute 24:00 in the video below). Partner James Timberlake was also a Rome fellow, in 1982-83, and the balance of art, intuition, science, and innovation that the two observed in Roman architecture led them to seek a similar balance in their own work. Steve pointed to Brunelleschi's dome in Florence as an exemplar of this equilibrium, explaining that truly compelling beauty hangs in the balance between art and science. 
Several elements of the firm's contemporary work draw upon lessons learned in Rome, including masonry walls that manage gravity and water; rainscreens (see Sidwell Friends School, Loblolly House, Brockman Hall); high-performance transparent walls (see Yale Sculpture Building, Putman Pavilion, Cellophane House, US Embassy in London); and the use of daylighting (see Quaker Meeting House and Arts Center). 
Steve noted, "Rome is still home. The insights I gained through disassembling and recording what I was seeing more than thirty years ago have remained ingrained in every facet of my life as an architect." 
Read the American Academy in Rome review of "Carrying Rome."

Watch "Carrying Rome"