Completed in 2001, the Viñoly-designed Kimmel Center in Philadelphia seems too old for growing pains, but today it's certainly going through something of an awkward phase. In late April, KieranTimberlake released plans to revamp the performing arts center and now some of the details are emerging. BLT Architects have shared a few rendering from their renovation of the rooftop garden into an event space. This year has been a bit of a roller coaster for the Kimmel, with major highs and lows. Just this past spring that the Center's chief tenant, the Philadelphia Orchestra, filed for bankruptcy. But a $10 million bequest from the late Leonore Annenberg spurred an international arts festival with a Parisian theme. One leftover from the event, an 81-foot high replica of the Eiffel Tower, still sits beneath the cavernous glass dome. It's become such a draw that management would probably like to leave it up all year, but it will come down next week. During the festival the cavernous space was taken over by artists and performers, enlivening the interior plaza. Now, the Kimmel is looking for ways to animate the space on a daily basis with cafes that spread out onto the sidewalk, free WiFi, and more freewheeling events. High above the plaza, sitting atop the Perelman Theater is the Dorrance H. Hamilton Garden. The garden was intended as a respite for the public from city streets and to provide rental income from private parties. But according to Michael Prifti, managing principle of BLT Architects, the barrel vault made the space too hot and the noise that bounced off the glass poured onto the plaza below, making the garden impossible to rent during performances. The new design puts a glass cap over the graden so that the temperature can be controlled and the noise contained. "It had a parapet wall, and what we’ve done is put a crown on top of it. Yet the visual intention is just as strong as ever," said Prifti. "But it now it can finally can work on its own." The plaza's trees will be replaced with smaller movable plants to accommodate a 3000-square-foot space for seating and, of course, dancing. Viñoly, whose experience with the project hasn't always been pleasant, offered no comment on the changes.
Posts tagged with "KieranTimberlake":
London Calling. The State Department is pushing for design excellence standards and is using its new embassy in London as a prototype. The embassy, designed by Philly-based KieranTimberlake, is still in its early phases, but as the project evolves, so will the standards for future buildings commissioned by the Bureau of Overseas Buildings, reports Engineering News-Record. While haute design remains part of the goal, sustainability and efficiency will take the fore. (Via Arch Record.) New York Answering. The call from London that many answered Friday morning came from Westminster Abbey. Of the more auspicious outcomes, the so-called "Little Britain" section in the Village got it's nickname sanctified by The Times. Off the beaten path, under a bridge really, Brownstoner reports that an early morning crowd beneath the Manhattan Bridge gathered for a live video feed. U2 in Malibu. Well not the whole group, just The Edge. He got approval from the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy to build five eco-friendly homes in the Hollywood Hills. The dirty little tid-bit revealed in the LA Times is that the conservancy group accepted about $1 million in payments and services provided by a consultant hired by Mr. Edge. (via Curbed LA) Jane and Andy. Two names you might never consider putting together are Jane Jacons and Andy Warhol. But an essay by Timothy Mennel pairs to the "two libertarians" together in this week's Design Observer. Besides both coming from Pennsylvania steel towns, Mennel shows how their respective notions of community shaped the city as we know it today: eyes on your street vs. eyes on your navel.
"Everybody's doing it." That's how Erica Stoller of Esto described the august architectural photo agency's foray into web video. Now don't fret. At the heart of these videos remains Esto's unparalleled still camerawork, but given these changing times, experimentation is in order. And, as Stoller's colleague Joel Sanders explained, the philosophy remains the same. "Esto has always been about expressing architecture in its truest, purest, most honest form," Sanders told us over the phone. "We see these videos simply as an extension of that. It's a means to describing the architecture." For its first two videos, Esto showcases the work of photographer Albert Vecerka. One documents the restoration, more than 13 years later, of P.S. 70, a burned out Bed-Stuy school that was transformed by Robert A.M. Stern into the Excellence Charter School. The other presents a time lapse installation from last summer of KieranTimberlake's Cellophane House at MoMA's prefab show, Home Delivery.
As if we haven't written enough about Barack Obama or schools of late (what can we say, we're in the tank with the rest of the press), we still can't help but weigh in on the Obamas' decision to send their daughters to the Sidwell Friends School. Sure, there's been tons said already about the school's Quaker values and its symbolic standing in D.C., even the hypocrisy of the choice. But what really matters--and hopefully speaks volumes for the coming administration--is the school itself. No, not the teachers. We're talking about the building, and the middle school in particular, which happens to be the first LEED Platinum grade school in the country. Here's what I wrote about the school in a Studio Visit last year with the firm behind the project, KieranTimberlake Associates (KTA):
The Sidwell Friends School has always fostered environmental stewardship, as befits the Quaker values on which the institution was founded. When it came time to renovate the dilapidated red brick middle school, administrators realized they had an opportunity to turn the entire school into a green classroom. "Everywhere the building functions environmentally, they wanted it to be an opportunity for learning," KTA senior associate Richard Maimon said. Among the features KTA included are a green roof that functions as a garden and lab; a graywater system that not only feeds a lush wetland but includes a diagram--which hangs near the wetland for all to see--explaining the system; and wooden louvres reclaimed from old wine barrels, which, like most of the material, are locally sourced. "It may be the only LEED Platinum school in the country, but the real point is to teach," Maimon said.Steve Kieran happened to be visiting the school on Monday, just days after the announcement was made, and said that everyone was thrilled by the news, including himself. "Sure, I'm proud," he said in a phone interview from the firm's offices in Philadelphia. "In this regard, it's probably the totality of the whole picture that's involved [that drove the Obamas' decision]. Certainly part of that picture is the whole greening of the campus and having the first LEED Platinum school." "It's a wonderful thing for us and the school, it's a wonderful thing for green design," he added. "Given Obama's stated agenda, it would be stunning if it weren't part of the decision to attend." While only Malia, 11, will start off at the school straight away as she enters fifth grade, her younger sister, Sasha, 7, has four years at the lower school to contend with first. We bet it's worth the wait.