Posts tagged with "KieranTimberlake":

AIA honors the top eleven sustainable buildings of 2018

As a fitting kickoff to Earth Day weekend, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced the 2018 recipients of its COTE Top Ten Awards. Honoring ten projects that have surpassed rigorous thresholds in integration, energy use, water conservation, and wellness benchmarks, the award showcases cutting-edge buildings that are not only sustainable, but that contribute to the surrounding neighborhood. This year’s jury included:
  • Michelle Addington, Dean, School of Architecture, The University of Texas Austin Austin, Texas
  • Jennifer Devlin-Herbert, FAIA, EHDD. San Francisco
  • Kevin Schorn, AIA, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, New York
  • Julie V. Snow, FAIA, Snow Kreilich, Minneapolis
  • Susan Ubbelohde, LOISOS + UBBELOHDE, Alameda, California
The 2018 awardees ranged in usage from libraries to art galleries, as well as one single-family home. While the COTE Top Ten Awards are given to buildings that meet certain requirements, an additional “Top Ten Plus Award” is handed out to a single project with exceptional post-occupancy performance. The winners are as follows: Albion District Library; Toronto, Ontario, Canada Architect: Perkins+Will According to the jury: "This project clearly demonstrates the immediate positive impact of good design. A district library that serves a diverse and newly-immigrant community, the library has a dramatically increased visitorship (with a notable 75 percent increase for teenagers) over the old facility." Georgia Tech Engineered Biosystems Building; Atlanta, Georgia Architect: Lake|Flato in collaboration with Cooper Carry According to the jury: "The Georgia Tech Engineered Biosystems Building weaves a large array of active and passive strategies into a highly tuned machine for this university research laboratory." Mundo Verde at Cook Campus; Washington Architect: Studio Twenty Seven Architecture According to the jury: "A 25,000-gallon cistern holds rainwater for reuse, while the gardens have increased site vegetation from zero to 40 percent." Nancy and Stephen Grand Family House; San Francisco Architect: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects According to the jury: "This cost-effective building serves a community of sick children and their families while prioritizing environmental performance." New United States Courthouse; Los Angeles; Los Angeles Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP According to the jury: "We were impressed with the quality of the calm, light-filled interior spaces for occupants who are often in the courthouse under difficult circumstances." The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Washington, D.C. Architect: DLR Group According to the jury: "The Renwick Gallery renovation wove complex and robust new systems while preserving the impressive historic design and collection and allowing opportunities for new works to be displayed." San Francisco Art Institute - Fort Mason Center Pier 2; San Francisco Architect: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects According to the jury: "The design team recognized the assets of the existing structure and created a great, low-energy building with a healthy interior environment." Sawmill; Tehachapi, California Architect: Olson Kundig According to the jury: "The team is commended for their site-specific analysis, as evidenced by the decision to let rainwater recharge the water table rather than collect it. If a single-family dwelling is to be built in a desert climate, this is how to do it." Sonoma Academy’s Janet Durgin Guild & Commons; Santa Rosa, California Architect: WRNS Studio According to the jury: "This project demonstrates that, even with an energy-heavy program that includes a commercial kitchen, a fully integrated and dedicated design team can produce a beautiful and extremely well-performing building." Top Ten Plus winner: Ortlieb's Bottling House; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Architect: KieranTimberlake According to the jury: "An exceptional example of passive strategies used in adaptive reuse of an historic urban building."

A skin for the spectacular? It has to be ETFE.

From biodomes to Disney resorts, "Sheds" and stadiums, ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, better known as ETFE, has become the material of choice for architects designing a venue for the spectacular. Appealing to designers as an affordable, translucent building skin, the material is now the go-to polymer for flamboyant facades. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) spoke to three firms leading the way to get the lowdown.

"When we designed Eden over twenty years ago, this was the largest installation of ETFE, which had principally been used for small sports buildings," said Andrew Whalley, Partner & Deputy Chairman at Grimshaw Architects. Whalley was, of course, referring to the Eden Project in the U.K.'s southwest, the project that put ETFE and its use for buildings on the map. Previously, the material had been used mostly in the aerospace industry, with the odd agricultural project thrown in. Now it was being used for huge, bulbous "biomes" that drew inspiration from Buckminster Fuller.

"I think the Eden project certainly gave it a much higher profile, which led quickly to its use on several high-profile buildings. This rise in popularity has lead to a continual refinement in the product, and with secondary applications," added Whalley.

Grimshaw has since gone on to be a pioneer of the polymer in architecture. Their U.K. National Space Center in Leicester was another landmark project, and, more recently, the firm has stepped it up a level, with the dazzling Disney resort, "Tomorrowland," in Shanghai. Whalley continued, "Current ETFE is much more transparent than its earlier version, is available in a range of color tints. It can be fritted, and combining this with variable air pressures can change the amount of light passing through the envelope." Light and colour certainly abound at Tomorrowland. David Dennis, Associate Principal at Grimshaw explained how this was achieved through a double-layered ETFE cushion that spans 164 feet across a complicated twin-gridshell canopy. This is then held in place by custom-formed aluminum clamps that respond to the tight bending and twisting of the structure. "ETFE’s inherent flexibility permitted spanning these complex forms. Meanwhile, advancements in imbedded color and custom-applied ‘frit’ patterns enabled a backdrop suitable for both daytime and nighttime light shows," elaborated Dennis. "The canopy structure required a lightweight cladding that could keep guests dry and comfortable in Shanghai’s wet summers. At the same time, it also needed to be an expressive and iconic canvas for lighting effects and projections that celebrate Disney’s stories and capture the Tomorrowland theme of an optimistic future," he added. "ETFE met these needs, providing flexibility of form and advanced capacity for showcase." But how is ETFE being used on U.S. shores? Alloy Kemp, a Senior Project Engineer at Thornton Tomasetti's New York office, was on hand. The engineering firm has already worked on numerous ETFE facades, including Banc of California Stadium (for the Los Angeles Football Club, MLS), the U.S. Bank Stadium (for the Minnesota Vikings) and the Hard Rock Stadium (for the Miami Dolphins) in Florida. Right now, Thornton Tomasetti is working with Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and the Rockwell Group on The Shed at Hudson Yards which, yes, you guessed it, has an ETFE facade. According to Kemp, The Shed uses a pneumatic system, whereby three foils made into a panel are inflated with air. "The air is not structural; it serves to stabilize the foils," said Kemp. "The outer foil is fritted (printed with silver ink in a dot pattern) to reduce the light transmission of the panel into the space." The middle foil, meanwhile, is clear, and the inner foil is white, with 20 percent opacity. Kemp remarked that the "overall effect is to diffuse and scatter the direct sunlight into the space." ETFE is also representing the U.S. on foreign soil, too. Back in the U.K., Philly-based studio KieranTimberlake Architects recently used the material to clad the U.S. Embassy in London. Partner at studio Matthew Krissell told AN how the "single layer tensioned membrane," arranged in an array of sails on three sides of the building, optimized natural daylighting with a high level of transparency. Meanwhile, the scrim also provided a second air gap to give further resistance to thermal transfer.
And so what of the future of ETFE? Whalley shared that Grimshaw is currently looking at new versions that integrate high-efficiency photovoltaic cells and low-emission coatings. He, along with Dennis, Kemp, and Krissell, will be talking about ETFE (and the projects mentioned here) in greater detail at the Facades+ NYC conference this April 19. Whalley is the event's co-chair while the rest will form a panel specifically on the material.
For more information and tickets please visit www.facadesplus.com. Seating is limited.

NYU reveals design for major mixed-use student and faculty complex

New York University released renderings yesterday of the new Davis Brody Bond and KieranTimberlake–designed 23-story building (dubbed 181 Mercer) on the corner of Houston and Mercer streets, where the Cole Sports Center once stood. Bordering I.M. Pei’s University Village, the tessellated glass building will be 735,000 square feet and includes plans for 58 new classrooms, 50 practice rooms, 20 music instruction rooms, a 350-seat proscenium theater, 10 multi-use rooms for the performing arts, an orchestral ensemble room (the university’s first), and housing for approximately 420 freshmen students and at least 30 faculty. This will make it NYU’s largest classroom building. Additionally, it will include common areas, such as an athletic facility with a lap pool, basketball courts, and other fitness areas that collectively will serve as the new hub of the NYU sports facilities. Both firms have worked on collegiate campuses such as Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Cornell as well as many others, and wanted this building to be a visual departure from the Cole Sports Center, which was described as opaque and monolithic. The architects opted to only use 80 percent of the permitted square footage to create a sense of permeability and keep the structure open to the public. Greene Street will be extended as a pedestrian walkway between the building and the University Village to create an open feel on campus. Fostering a sense of lightness and transparency was key to the design, which incorporates green roofs, glass panels, outdoor terraces, and common areas and pushes circulation spaces to the perimeter. The project has been in the works since plans were filed and approved by City Council in 2012. Construction is set to begin February 2017 and will be completed in 2021. The projected cost is $1.b million.

Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park Welcome Center undergoes a retrofit

With its limited financial resources, Philadelphia can’t save all the buildings in the city that deserve protection. But one structure that city officials are preserving is the 1960 Fairmount Park Welcome Center at JFK Plaza/LOVE Park, a round pavilion that locals have dubbed the “saucer” due to its Jetson-like qualities.

Designed by Roy Larson of Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson, the building renovation is part of a $16.5 million upgrade to LOVE Park, at John F. Kennedy Boulevard and North 15th Street, well known for its Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture. The work is being described as a retrofit rather than a pure restoration.

Local firm KieranTimberlake will head the Welcome Center upgrade and prepare the building for use as both a visitor center and setting for a food and beverage operation. Hargreaves Associates is the landscape architect leading the park makeover, slated for completion by spring 2017, and Pentagram is the graphic designer.

The Welcome Center is getting energy-efficient glazing, a green roof, upgraded systems, and improvements to make it more accessible to the disabled. As part of the project, Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy commissioned Chromoscope, a ceiling mural by husband and wife artists Tom Drugan and Laura Haddad of Seattle, under its “percent for art” program.

According to the artists, who are working with local lighting design firm The Lighting Practice, the ceiling mural is made with aluminum panels printed in saturated colors with archival ink. The image is composed of distinct patterns in separate colors, layered and blended to create an abstract pattern. In daylight, all of the layered images will be visible at once, resulting in an abstract pattern.

At night, red, green, and blue LED lights will transition through a variety of hues, durations, and sequences on the mural. The timing, speed, and type of color fades can be composed to create a variety of effects for different times and events. As the light color changes, the imagery changes, resulting in a kinetic optical effect that appears to animate the structure itself.

“The art reinstates the pavilion’s original lighting concept as a ‘lantern,’ but will be visually dynamic and compelling at all times,” the artists said. “From a distance, the dynamic pattern will embody the motion and modernist power of the original Welcome Center, which was conceived as an emblem of futurist ambition.”

A shiny Westchester home, designed by KieranTimberlake, reflects its woodsy surroundings

Westchester County, New York, is renowned for opulent homesTwin PondsKykuit, the X-Mansionthat match the tastes and aspirations of its mostly very wealthy residents. Channeling champagne wishes and caviar dreams, Philadelphia-based KieranTimberlake recently completed a two level, 5,250 square foot "house in the woods, of the woods" in the leafy northern Westchester town of Pound Ridge.  KieranTimberlake has been known to push the envelope of facade design. Mirrored surfaces make the property, hemmed in by glacial outcroppings, appear more expansive. Viewed from the outside, the metal and mirrored glass facade is like a sylvan Lee Bul installation. To avoid a last days of disco effect, exterior treatments alternate between glass, tin zinc-coated copper, brushed stainless steel, and polished stainless steel. The home has precedent in MLRP's 2011 Playground Pavilion (below), designed for a public park in Copenhagen. The south-facing property descends over 100 feet, from a ridge to a wetland. A ravine carrying water downhill bisects the home's two "rock rooms." The first level is clad in stone. A glass-sided walkway, punctuated with skylights, connects the house's private and common spaces. The daylighted interiors create the illusion of a bivouac without the hardship of camping outdoors. Kieran Timberlake collaborated with Cambridge, MA and New Haven, CT–based Reed Hilderbrand on the project's naturalistic landscape architecture.

KieranTimberlake demonstrates best practices for a prototypical new commercial building

The facility will serve students, building operators, building energy auditors, and will be used to support the development of new business ventures in energy efficiency.

The Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI)—formerly the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub—at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, is a research initiative funded by the Department of Energy and led by Penn State University that seeks to reduce the energy usage of commercial buildings to 50% by 2020. KieranTimberlake, a Philadelphia-based firm located three miles from Navy Yard, was selected by Penn State to renovate a 1940’s Georgian-style brick building to be a living laboratory for advanced energy retrofit technology. Included in the brief was an addition to the building, which evolved into a new stand-alone building across the street on Lot 7R, which aptly became the name of the building. The new 7R building, literally tied to the ground with groundwater-sourced heat pumps, is also formally and tectonically organized around passive solar strategies. A number of daylighting studies drove a re-shape of the building. An initial four-story cube was introduced in Robert A.M. Stern and Associates’ masterplan for the site, but became a long linear east-west oriented low-lying building. This configuration maximizes daylighting while minimizing over-shadowing on the site, establishing a framework for campus growth. 7R is loaded with environmental features including a green roof, a gray water reuse system, integrated daylighting strategies, and geothermal wells. These environmental priorities influenced an approach to building envelope design that balances performance with overriding aesthetics and compositional goals. David Riz, a partner at KieranTimberlake, says the composition of the facade is integral to the siting of the building: “In a large number of our projects, we accentuate the orientation of our buildings with facade treatments.”
  • Facade Manufacturer Kawneer (aluminum), Solera (translucent glazing),JE Berkowitz (clear glazing),
  • Architects KieranTimberlake
  • Facade Installer Malvern Glass (translucent rainscreen), Torrado Construction (brick)
  • Facade Consultants Balfour Beatty (CM)
  • Location Philadelphia, PA
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • System brick, clear & translucent glazing on steel frame
  • Products Metro Ironspot brick (by Yankee Hill Brick and Tile), VM Zinc (by Dri-Design), Kawneer Encore Storefront / Kawneer 451 UT Storefront / Kawneer 1600 Curtainwall, Solera, R-9 Panel with aerogel, Acrylite, 16mm High-Impact Multi-skinned Acrylic Panel
Brick, chosen for its relationship to a historic Navy Yard context, is utilized as a ‘solar shade,’ opening and closing along the south facade to manage direct heat gain, while eliminating the need for mechanized shades. ‘Rips’ in the brick fabric reveal a transparent glazing system adorned with horizontal sun shade louvers. To the north, the building visually connects to adjacent League Island Park by maximizing glazing along an elevated second floor ‘tree-top’ interior walkway. Arguably the most significant feature of the building envelope is a twin-wall assembly of insulated translucent panels, seen prominently along the length of the north facade, allowing the architects to maximize the level of daylight. David Riz says the panels are notably used both performatively and compositionally, spanning 19’ tall from the plenum to the roof coping: “We wanted to create syncopation in the patterning. We were trying to get a dual read on a long linear building introducing key moments as your eye moves along the building.” The panels are incorporated into the west facade as a primary material to help manage a harsh late-afternoon sun in the large auditorium’s break out space. Riz celebrates the success of the facade in managing a difficult western orientation through diffusing harsh sunlight into a soft glow: “When you’re in the break out space, you simultaneously sense the daylight from the west, a view to the north park, and also a view through the flying brick screen to the south. That’s where it all comes together.” Riz considers the quality of daylight filtering through the building envelope to be one of the project’s greatest strengths: “There are very nice moments as you walk through the building because its so narrow where you experience a simultaneity of the south facade and the north facade: a hint of the brick screen through the classrooms, and bays of transparent panels to the other direction.” KieranTimberlake, who recently received an award for Innovative Research at ACADIA 2015, continues to monitor for thermal performance and storm water analysis. In this regard, the 7R building is a blend between high tech data monitoring, paired with low-tech passive strategies and off-the-shelf products. The project, completed within the last year, will be utilized by Penn State for various research programs.

ARO, KieranTimberlake, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam make shortlist for Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis on Monday announced the three finalists competing to design a new building for its Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. The three teams vying to design Annabeth & John Weil Hall are: Architecture Research Office (ARO), KieranTimberlake, and Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects. The building is part of the university's arts and architecture campus, a collection of limestone-clad structures ranging from Beaux Arts style structures dating to the St. Louis world's fair of 1904 to more modern additions by Fumihiko Maki. The Sam Fox School campus is visually set apart from the university's predominantly Collegiate Gothic Danforth Campus.   No renderings or specific timelines are available yet, but a previous announcement of the project said the university aimed to complete construction within the next five years. The new building is part of the university's 10–15 strategic “Design for Excellence” campus plan. New York City–based ARO has designed academic buildings for universities including Tulane, Brown, and Princeton, as well as renovations to Donald Judd's home and studio in Soho. KieranTimberlake has worked with Yale, Rice, and Tulane universities. In the firm's home base of Philadelphia, it has helped revamp Dilworth Park with architectural greenhouses serving as entrances to the city's subway system. Atlanta's Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects count among its higher education clients Yale, Carnegie Mellon, and Clemson universities, and the firm was shortlisted to design a new U.S. embassy in Beirut (that job ultimately went to Morphosis). As part of the selection process, each firm will deliver a public presentation in Washington University's Steinberg Auditorium, an early building by Maki dating to 1960 when he was a professor at the university. The event dates are: Monday, March 23, 1:15p.m: Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects Monday, March 23, 4p.m: KieranTimberlake Tuesday, March 24, 1:15p.m: Architecture Research Office (ARO)

Ribbon cut at Philadelphia’s revamped Dilworth Park

Earlier today, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter cut the ribbon on Dilworth Park—a new 120,000-square-foot public space next to City Hall. OLIN led the $55 million renovation of the site which now includes an expansive lawn, a café, new trees and seating, and a nearly 12,000-square-foot fountain that converts into an ice skating rink in the winter. The fountain also doubles—rather triples—as a canvas for renowned artist Janet Echelman's latest installation. "The serpentine form is meant as an abstract representation of the subways moving deep below the park," explained Inga Saffron in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Each time a train pulls in, colored light and puffs of mist will pulse along the sinuous path, symbolizing the constant movement of the city's transit infrastructure." The site’s most notable features, though, are likely the two KieranTimberlake-designed glass headhouses that rise out of the plaza providing an architectural flourish and better access points to the trains below.

James Timberlake to US AEC Industry: Bring Facade Manufacturing Home

KieranTimberlake has long pushed the boundaries of conventional facade design. The Philadelphia-based firm started using pressure-equalized rain screen systems in the 1980s, well before other architects brought the technology on board. Their Melvin J. and Claire Levine Hall, at the University of Pennsylvania (2003), was the first actively ventilated curtain wall in North America. The designers at KieranTimberlake have introduced new materials and assemblies, such as the SmartWrap building skin deployed at Cellophane House, part of MoMA’s Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling exhibit. One of the firm’s latest projects, the Embassy of the United States, London, incorporates an outer envelope of three-dimensional ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) panels with integrated photovoltaic cells. Thus founding partner James Timberlake speaks from experience when he calls out the American AEC industry for a lack of attention to high-performance building envelopes. “We see performance—not only of the building, put particularly the facade—as being a critical element of architecture, and of the long-term sustainability of not only architecture but building in general,” said Timberlake. “We think that architects, manufacturers, and contractors need to be thinking innovatively in that way as they help build the future of not only North America, but China and Europe as well.” For Timberlake, who will deliver the keynote address at next month’s facades+ Chicago conference, the missing link is production. “I think the United States and North American market has abrogated its duty to produce high-performance, sustainable, and affordable facade choices over the last four decades,” he said. “The last time we produced anything that was innovative was in the late 1960s. Since then, all of that production went to Asia and Europe. I think it’s now time to make that stuff here.” Moving facade manufacturing back to the United States would benefit manufacturers and designers as well as the economy in general, says Timberlake. “The President of the United States has, in the last few weeks, put out a clarion call for manufacturing to return to the USA rather than offshoring. I think we can be competitive; I think we should be producing innovative wall strategies here,” he said, noting the potential impact on unemployment. “There have always been [American] companies that have been innovative with bespoke strategies, but at this point they are considered niche constructors. In the long term we would like to see those niche manufacturers expand their market reach to be the distributors for some of these other types of facade strategies, or even return to producing the kinds of curtain walls that made the Lever House and Mies van der Rohe’s buildings in Chicago, and made the gleaming skyscrapers of LA.” Architects, said Timberlake, would benefit from greater integration and lower labor and shipping costs were facade manufacture to relocate from abroad. The key to reintegrating facade manufacture and production, argued Timberlake, is demonstrating the existence of a market for cutting-edge envelopes. “They need to see that the design and engineering capability is here in the United States,” he said. “Three-dimensional design used to be the purview of Europe and Asia, but over the last five to ten years American architects and engineers have become quite capable of working three dimensionally. We’re turning out three dimensional designs and engineering solutions that are unique and innovative in terms of their technology, and also are affordable solutions and quite sustainable.” As proof that it can be done, Timberlake points to auto companies, including Volkswagen and Tesla, that have recently set up production centers in the United States. “I don’t see curtain walls and facades any different from that,” he said. “There’s a robust labor market ripe for that to be rolled out here.” Timberlake admitted that his concern with the building-products supply chain might strike some as unusual. “What architect thinks about that? We do,” he said, referencing KieranTimberlake’s history of integrating design and research. “We see economy as a part of design; design incorporates economy. You have to think about the market, sustainability, affordability, production, and manufacture. You have to think about how good it looks, and you have to think about whether you can get it to the marketplace.”

Philly’s KieranTimberlake Finds New Home in an Old Bottling Plant

  KieranTimberlake has been looking to buy a building for over a decade now, and after a long search, the Philadelphia firm is putting down roots in the Northern Liberties neighborhood with the recent purchase of the 1948 Henry F. Ortlieb Company Bottling House. The firm’s substantial growth first prompted the partners, James Timberlake and Stephen Kieran, to search for a new home, and this two-story, 63,000 sq foot building located on the Ortlieb campus will provide more than enough space to accommodate the firm’s 90 plus employees. Timberlake and Kieran have drafted a preliminary plan for all three levels of the building, designed by architect Richard Koelle of William F. Koelle & Co. and a protégé of Paul Cret, and will begin renovations in 2013. The exterior will remain the same, but the ground floor will house a workshop and the second floor will be transformed into studio, office, and conference space. Timberlake says the building features the hallmark details of contemporary post-war era design such as stripped windows, industrial sashes, and linear light on the top floor. “What appealed to us about it is that it is a piece of modern industrial architecture from the late 1940s still intact in Philadelphia. And from the outside it is a contributing piece to the neighborhood,” says Timberlake. “It affords a column free space that suits our culture very nicely.” KieranTimberlake will begin to make improvements to the envelope within the next six to nine weeks and the firm is currently moving ahead with a sustainability study to devise a strategy to make the project environmentally ethical. They’re exploring the possibility of ventilating the building naturally and implementing day lighting with the help of lighting designer Charles Stone from Fisher Marantz Stone. KieranTimberlake has been the architect for projects such as the US Embassy in London and the Sculpture and Gallery Building at Yale University, and will be working on a series of buildings and a 1700-acre site design for the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center.

Event> Oct 11-12: AN’s Facades & Fabrication Conference…And Look Who’s Coming!

Chicago's collective IQ, no doubt already impressive, may rise a few points even higher this Thursday and Friday. The city is hosting a gathering of international thinkers and innovators who specialize in the tools that enable the creation of some of the world's most high-tech and visually arresting building skins. The conference, Collaboration: The Art and Science of Building Facades, is sponsored by The Architect's Newspaper and Enclos. On Thursday, the conference features a high-powered line-up of speakers on Thursday, including Fernando Romero of FREE as the keynote. Then on Friday, the conference turns practical with a series of hands-on workshops that will lead participants through the very latest tools, programs, and applications. For example, Florin Isvoranu of Austria-based firm Evolute, which has collaborating with Zaha Hadid, Asymptote and others, will host a workshop on parametrically driven optimization of freeform facades, a topic that even has industry experts signing up to learn something new. From students to seasoned veterans, those currently attending include staffers from firms like Sapa, Thornton Tomasetti, Interface, Cannon Design, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architcture, Perkins + Will, NBBJ, SOM, and KieranTimberlake, with roles ranging from engineer to BIM manager, market analyst to company president. PhD candidates, MArchs, and undergrads are flocking in from area universities and colleges including The School of the Art Institute, IIT, and Cranbrook Academy, as well as a hefty contingent of 12 students and three profs from the University of South Dakota State University's new Department of Architecture (DoArch). Collaboration is the industry conference you can't afford to miss. There's still time to sign up! Registration details here.

BLT on Top at Kimmel

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.