Posts tagged with "KieranTimberlake":

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Washington University in St. Louis and Sam Fox School receive a KieranTimberlake revamp

Just west of St. Louis’s Forest Park sits the compact urban campus of Washington University in St. Louis. At 124 years old, the Olmsted-designed masterplan has undergone several major changes, but nothing as dramatic as the recently-completed, 18-acre transformation of its East End. KieranTimberlake and Michael Vergason Landscape Architects (MVLA) led a handful of experts in the sweeping $360 million effort, which included the introduction of an expansive new park, an addition to the famed Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, and five new structures, one of which is the new face of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. AN spoke with James Kolker, university architect and associate vice-chancellor, over email about the project. He said the milestone has been a decades-long dream in the making to cover the site, which was previously lacking comprehensive character and full of surface parking lots, with a green landscape and sustainable stand-out buildings that will lead the university into its next 100 years. “Seeing the Ann and Andrew Tisch Park filled with people lounging, eating, snapping photos, enjoying art, and gathering movable chairs together to host a class, continue to delight,” said Kolker, “and are evidence that the variety of activities, both as a place and a campus thoroughfare, make the east end a great campus for all.” When originally planned in the late 1800s, the site was projected to be a park-like “front door” that connected the campus to Forest Park, but the popularity of cars led to cement flat blocks and walking paths being installed. The goal of the reimagined landscape, Kolker explained, was to make the Danforth Campus more open and accessible to the public and university students. Opened this week, Tisch Park now serves as the centerpiece of the East End while Brookings Hall, the Collegiate Gothic landmark atop the newly-landscaped hill, greets students as the home of undergraduate admissions. On the southeastern edge of the site is Weil Hall, the new 80,760-square-foot main entry to the six-structure Sam Fox School, which also includes the newly-renovated and expanded Kemper Art Museum. The latter structure, originally designed in 2006 by Fumihiko Maki, features a 34-foot-tall polished, stainless steel facade that, through a pleated surface treatment, reflects movement around campus. KieranTimberlake nearly doubled the space for the display of the museum’s permanent collection with the 2,700-square-foot double-height gallery for post-war and contemporary art. In addition, the team worked with MVLA to design and reinstall the Florence Steinberg Weil Sculpture Garden.  The exterior of Weil Hall complements the museum to the north in its use of translucent glass and vertical aluminum fins. Instead of mirroring activity outside the building, the facade allows views inside to its state-of-the-art studios, classrooms, and digital fabrication labs. The design team added many energy-saving elements into Weil Hall as well, including a two-story green wall to regulate temperature and clean and filter the air. According to James Timberlake, principal of KieranTimberlake, these major moves reaffirm the private research university’s commitment to the arts.  “The design of Weil Hall is about fostering intentional interaction among disciplines in a flexible, open, light-filled space that inspires scholarship, creative research, and bold experimentation,” said Timberlake in a statement. “This was an opportunity to give new life and purpose to the Danforth Campus by putting the vitality of the art and architecture programs on view front and center for all to see.”  By far the most disruptive but innovative intervention that the design team made to the campus was placing an underground garage directly beneath Tisch Park. Large enough to accommodate 790 vehicles, electric charging stations, and more, the below-grade building by KieranTimberlake and BNIM features high ceilings and access to natural light. Should automobiles ever become obsolete, the university has contingency plans to convert the garage into classrooms and labs. The East End transformation also includes the build-out of a glass-clad pavilion that provides space for the school’s environmental studies program and the office of sustainability, as well as a new welcome center and hall for the department of mechanical engineering and materials science. Another structure by Perkins Eastman will house computer science and engineering when it opens in 2021.
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KieranTimberlake's vision for Washington University to open this fall

Sweeping changes are coming this fall to half the urban campus of Washington University in St. Louis. For the past two years, construction has been underway on the 166-year-old institution’s east end—a $280 million vision that includes several new projects by KieranTimberlake for the university’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. The Philadelphia-based firm announced construction was nearly complete on the upcoming Anabeth and John Weil Hall, an 82,000-square-foot space with state-of-the-art graduate studios, classrooms, and digital fabrication labs. Further details were also released on the expansion and renovation of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, which is set to open in late September with a major thematic exhibition by Ai Weiwei. The lower section of the Danforth campus, which sits just behind St. Louis’s largest landscape, Forest Park, will be better connected to the city through these mega-enhancements and will serve as a welcoming entrance for visitors, students, and faculty alike. At the core of the project for the Sam Fox School is Weil Hall, the new hub for all art, design, and architecture programs which were previously scattered in different buildings. The new structure will feature a striking facade with opaque glass walls and vertical aluminum fins that allow natural light into the facilities and promote energy efficiency. Collaborative workspaces and loft-style studios will be arranged throughout but will be connected visually by a luminous, two-story central interior courtyard that will highlight the movement and activity going on within the school. Weil Hall will stand out in clear contrast to its surrounding structures on the southeastern corner of campus. Aligned on a stretch of land with two Beaux-Arts buildings and three seminal projects by former Washington University associate professor Fumihiko Maki (including the Kemper Art Museum), the contemporary structure embodies a new era for the Sam Fox School. KieranTimberlake has also designed an upgraded look for the adjacent Kemper Art Museum, one that complements the school next door and helps it stand out in the surrounding sea of institutional structures. Designed by Maki in 2006, the limestone-clad building will be completely renovated and expanded with a new, 2,700-square-foot gallery and a soaring, glass-lined lobby. It will also boast a shiny new exterior featuring 34-foot-tall stainless steel panels that will reflect the dynamic campus, its landscape, and the sky. Michael Vergason Landscape Architects has created an extensive masterplan for the museum’s grounds and sculpture garden that blends with the firm’s overall vision for the east end of the Danforth Campus. In collaboration with KieranTimberlake, MVLA will transform what’s now a series of parking lots into a car-free park, featuring native plantings and ample pedestrian space.
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What is New England architecture?

New England might not garner the attention that other places get for contemporary architecture, but the region has a legacy of world-class architecture, including some great works of modernism. Two iconic monuments of modern architecture in America are in New England—Le Corbusier’s Carpenter Center at Harvard and Alvar Aalto’s Baker House at MIT—along with seminal late-modern buildings such as Boston City Hall and the Yale Center for British Art. Today, many contemporary design stars have built structures across New England, including Frank Gehry, Rafael Moneo, Norman Foster, Herzog & de Meuron, Michael Hopkins, Renzo Piano, Charles Correa, Fumihiko Maki, and Tadao Ando. The finalists for a competition for a new contemporary art museum on Boston’s waterfront included Switzerland’s Peter Zumthor and Studio Granda from Iceland. The only local firm considered for the museum was the then relatively young Office dA; principals Nader Tehrani and Monica Ponce de León went on to fame as architectural educators beyond Boston. Although not unique to New England, the whole mentality of "if-you-are-good-you-must-be-from-somewhere-else" is found here. As one might expect, Boston is the center of most architectural activity in the region. Yet, despite a heroic postwar age of Brutalism, too much contemporary architecture barely rises above the level of commercial real estate. With the exception of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Institute of Contemporary Art and David Hacin’s District Hall, much of the frantic new downtown construction features the kind of glass boxes that pierce city skylines from Dubai to Shanghai. The city’s embarrassingly named Innovation District (often called the Inundation District due to its propensity for flooding) is scaleless, overbearing, and disconnected from the soul of Boston. OMA’s new scheme for the area—which the architects gratuitously refer to as “a dynamic and vibrant area that is quickly emerging as one of the most exciting neighborhoods and destinations in the country”—is an 18-story glass cube with the dreary moniker of 88 Seaport Boulevard. One might have hoped for more from OMA’s first Boston commission. The block will offer almost half a billion square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of retail, and a paltry 5,000 square feet for civic and cultural use. Its gimmick is slicing the building into two sections with some terracing and plantings sandwiched in between. OMA disingenuously claims this double-volume exercise “creates diverse typologies for diverse industries,” and furthermore “generates an opportunity to draw in the district’s public domain.” In short, Boston will get an off-the-shelf dystopian nightmare. However, the Engineering Research Center at Brown University by KieranTimberlake is not just another knockoff. Although flush from the controversial but triumphant U.S. Embassy in London, the Philadelphians’ latest New England project is what good contemporary architecture ought to be. The $88-million, 80,000-square-foot laboratory and classroom building is both understated and environmentally responsible. Its 22 pristine labs steer the Ivy League school into uncharted territory in nano research, energy studies, and information technology. The ERC is a triumph, especially given Brown’s decades of struggle to find an appropriate contemporary architectural voice. Recent work on the Providence campus includes an international relations institute by Rafael Viñoly—the design of which was dumbed down to mollify historic preservationists; a tepid Maya Lin sculpture; and an awkwardly sited Diller Scofidio + Renfro art center that was commissioned to show that Brown could do trendy and edgy. These common missteps are best exemplified by the university’s first competition for an athletic center. Although the competition was officially won by SHoP, the donor sponsoring it declared his dislike of modern architecture and demanded the school hire Robert A.M. Stern instead. The cutesy Georgian result is predictably bland. The ERC was ahead of schedule and under budget, and rather than treating Rhode Islanders as rubes, the architects created what Stephen Kieran calls “a nice piece of Providence urbanism.” While the firm’s great strength is diminishing the environmental impact of their buildings, the ERC also contributes a handsome facade to the campus’s traditional buildings. The fiberglass-reinforced concrete fins, the building’s signature element, impose a timeless probity worthy of Schinkel. If KieranTimberlake grows weary of being identified as the designers of the $1-billion embassy that Trump slammed as “lousy and horrible,” imagine how tired Tod Williams and Billie Tsien must be of consistently being tagged with the label “designers of the Obama Library.” Is a client choosing them because of the reflected fame? Will all new works by the New York-based architects be measured against that Chicago shrine? Yet Williams and Tsien have created a number of noteworthy academic works in New England that deserve similar attention, including buildings at Bennington and Dartmouth. Their theater and dance building at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, is almost complete. Here, the very long shadow is not cast by the architects’ own projects, but by Louis Kahn’s library across campus. Kahn’s brick tribute to 19th-century Yankee mills—and the symmetry of Georgian style—is one of the great pieces of architecture in New England. The big block of the drama building by Williams and Tsien wisely does not choose to echo Kahn but is curiously almost a throwback to the early Brutalism of I. M. Pei. It establishes a more rugged character with a marvelous texture composed of gray Roman bricks. A more satisfying Granite State structure by Williams and Tsien is a library, archives, and exhibition complex at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. MacDowell is a century-old artists’ colony where thousands of painters, writers, and musicians, including James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Willa Cather, have sought quiet and isolation in a collection of rustic cabins in the woods. Thornton Wilder wrote his classic play Our Town during his time here. Williams and Tsien’s sensitive addition to the colony’s 1920s library is only 3,000 square feet, cost around $2 million, and is an exquisitely crafted gem. The single-story library is constructed of a nearly black granite. Set in a birch grove created by the leading modern landscape architects in Boston, Reed Hilderbrand, this gathering place for residents appears at one with the rocky soil and forests of Northern New England. A 23-foot-tall outdoor chimney flanking the entrance plaza to the library makes reference to the hearths in all of the MacDowell studios. It also looks like a primitive stele, giving the entire ensemble an aspect that is more primal than modern. Another prominent New York architect, Toshiko Mori, has produced a simple yet elegant warehouse for an art museum in the faded seaport and art destination of Rockland, Maine. Built to house a long-time contemporary art cooperative that had no permanent collection and only inadequate facilities for exhibitions and classes, the saw-toothed clerestories at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) make reference to New England factories while bringing in what the architect calls “that special Maine light.” Like those functional structures, Mori used economical, non-custom materials such as plasterboard and corrugated zinc that wrap the exterior, embracing the lack of funds to her advantage. Despite the nod to Rockland’s working class vibe, Mori created a thoughtfully wrought sophisticated work of art on an unremarkable side street. Mori’s Japanese heritage comes through in her subtle proportions based on a 4-foot grid. The CMCA offers a refreshing contrast to extravagantly costly new museums by superstar architects—the 11,000-square-foot arts center cost only $3.5 million. Mori has crafted a museum based on flexibility rather than attitude. A summer resident of nearby North Haven, she endowed her simple statement with an air of Yankee frugality. But perhaps the most encouraging new project is the $52-million John W. Olver Design Building at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A cooperative venture of three departments in three different colleges—architecture, landscape, and building technology—the autumn-hued, aluminum-wrapped school embodies the dynamic spirit of New England’s first publicly supported architecture program. The 87,000-square-foot studio and administrative space is the work of Boston–based Leers Weinzapfel and landscape designer Stephen Stimson, with contributions from the faculty-cum-clients. Construction Technology chair Alexander Schreyer, for example, a guru of heavy-timber structural systems, helped fashion what is perhaps the largest wood-frame building on the East Coast. The zipper trusses that span the 84-by-56-foot, two-story-high common area demonstrate the inventiveness of wood technology. The glulam trusses arrived on-site precut and were snapped together with pins. In short, the academic contributors got to show off their research and also benefit from it. In a region noted for some of the nation’s oldest and most renowned design schools, the Design Building announces the arrival of the new kid on the block. Its handsome envelope is pierced by asymmetrically placed tall and narrow fenestration as a nod to the doors of the tobacco barns that are the university’s neighbors in Massachusetts’s Pioneer Valley. From its roots as a fledgling offering in the art department in the early 1970s, design education at UMass has grown into a powerhouse. As the core of a complex of postwar and contemporary architecture, the Design Building helps to bring Roche Dinkeloo’s Brutalist Fine Arts Center into contact with a business school designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). While BIG’s work is sometimes incredibly innovative, the firm’s UMass project looks as if it might be another example of a second-tier work foisted on a boondocks location. Less flashy than its newer neighbor, Leers Weinzapfel’s Design Building is nonetheless a bold, homegrown achievement. New England’s patrimony is a tapestry of local and outside talent. A significant regional building would not be a postmodern structure in the shape of a lighthouse or a neotraditional re-creation of a Richardson library, but something like the UMass studios. Capturing the spirit of the best of New England design depends little upon reputation and huge expenditure. Rather, there is a direct correlation between realizing a quality work of art and understanding the region’s history of wresting a hard-won life from the granite earth. The challenge for successfully practicing architecture in New England is accepting an uncompromising intellectual toughness that demands respect for the eminently practical as well as the aspirational.
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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."
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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.
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New U.S. Embassy in London fails to face its neighbors

Marking its first project on U.K. shores, KieranTimberlake Architects’ U.S. Embassy in South London is finally complete. The Philadelphia firm was the winner of a competition launched by the American Embassy in London in 2008. Now the Embassy’s new location in Nine Elms, just off the banks of the River Thames, will open a decade later this January. An official opening date is still pending, as the status of President Donald Trump’s inaugural state visit hangs in the balance due to a concern about widespread protests. Indeed, worries about security dominate the current U.S. Embassy in London, particularly after spate of attacks on other American consulates. Nestled in a Georgian enclave in Mayfair, the current Embassy, Eero Saarinen’s Grade II Listed structure from the 1950s, is unceremoniously fenced off. Despite a crowning aluminum bald eagle, the wealth of bollards that precede the fencing means the embassy's current locale is decidedly lacking in freedom. After surveying 40 possible locations, the U.S Embassy is moving to an even safer compound, one it can truly control. The architects didn’t have a say in curtailing this aspect; a prescribed 100-foot “seclusion zone” meant the embassy’s relationship to the site was never going to be an open one. However, some efforts have been made to make the notion of security less explicit. A bioswale in the form of a semi-circular pond (essentially half a moat), fortified hedges, and a gabion wall have all been sunk below ground level to make the embassy seem less stand-offish from afar. From this distance, KieranTimberlake’s work stands out as a crystalline cube from its brick-clad neighbors. On three sides of the 213-foot-tall structure are ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) sails which act as a shading device. James Timberlake, a partner at the architecture firm, stressed the need to “filter all that enters,” listing “people, air, and even materials.” Birds too are kept out through star-spangled fritting found on the northern-facing façade, the only side free from the ETFE sails. But if the outside dazzles, which it almost does at night, the embassy's interiors are severely lacking. For those who can’t get or see in, you’re not missing out. Although Ambassador Woody Johnson pushed the idea that his embassy’s architecture was “outward-looking,” evidence of this is hard to come by. Inside, it becomes apparent that the sails block fantastic views out onto the river from the east and west sides of the building. As if a brief which stipulated such high levels of security wasn’t enough to strangle the life out of the building, striving for LEED Platinum status through the enormous shading sails has shot the architects in the foot. Perhaps because it is now on Brexit-bound soil, there is further evidence of insularity at a granular scale as well. The embassy, to the annoyance of at least one employee, is filled only with U.S. plug sockets "bar a few Brit outlets.” Besides a serene visa waiting hall and the ground floor lobbies, one of which features work from British artist Rachel Whiteread, the other Gensler-designed interior levels shown to journalists are remarkably boring. Interior gardens and garden balconies offer a sorry attempt at adding American charm. Their inclusion results in the embassy feeling more like a high-security Holiday Inn. This anodyne, ultra-safe approach seems to have leaked into the building's surroundings as well. A nauseatingly large amount of generic apartment blocks surrounds the embassy. They fall under the umbrella of “New London Vernacular,” a term that arose during Boris Johnson's mayoralty to encourage historically sensitive design.  Though most of the area is still under construction, what's built so far already hints at the non-place that the $20-billion Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area (VNEB), of which the embassy is a part, is set to become. In this bland context, the consulate’s isolationism as expressed in its distinctive facade may, in fact, be its best quality. One thing the embassy wasn’t fearful of though, was spending big. At $1 billion, it is the most expensive embassy in the world. You have to wonder, where did all that money go?
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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.
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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.”

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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.
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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.
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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)
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Here are the winners of the AIA's 2015 Institute Honor Awards in architecture

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the 2015 recipients of its Institute Honor Awards, which it describes as “the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design.” This year’s 23 recipients were selected from out of about 500 submissions and will be honored at the AIA’s upcoming National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. That event will be keynoted by former President Bill Clinton. Now onto the winners in the architecture category. 28th Street Apartments; Los Angeles Koning Eizenberg Architecture
From the AIA: The historic YMCA (1926) had been a focus of African-American life in the era of segregation but had fallen into severe disrepair. The design re-establishes the building’s role as a community focus, restores principal spaces for youth training programs, brings existing living quarters in compliance with contemporary standards and adds new housing units. Inventive integration of new building systems released the existing rooftop for outdoor social space that connects and anchors old and new. The new addition is thin and cross-ventilated. It is shaded to the south by a vertical photovoltaic panel array and wrapped to the north with lightweight perforated metal screens that contrast with the heft of the original masonry building.
Brockman Hall for Physics, Rice University; Houston KieranTimberlake
From the AIA:The campus of Rice University is a continuously studied and managed “canvas” that represents an intensive ongoing collaboration between architects, planners, and administrators. Its park-like environment—with live oaks, lawns, walkways, arcades, courtyards, and buildings—comprises a clear and timeless vision. The Brockman Hall for Physics needed to fit within this distinctive setting, to gather together a faculty of physicists and engineers working in as many as five separate buildings, and to house highly sophisticated research facilities carefully isolated from the noise, vibrations, and temperature fluctuations that could destroy experiments.
California Memorial Stadium & Simpson Training Center; Berkeley, California HNTB Architecture; Associate Architect: STUDIOS Architecture
From the AIA: The historic stadium is one of the most beloved and iconic structures on the UC Berkeley campus. The key goals for this project were to restore the stadium’s historic and civic prominence, integrate modern training and amenity spaces, and address severe seismic concerns. By setting the new athlete training facility into the landscape, a new grand 2-acre public plaza for the stadium was created on the roof. A new press box/club crowns the historic wall; its truss-like design acts as a counterpoint to the historic facade.
Cambridge Public Library; Cambridge, Massachusetts William Rawn Associates; Associate Architect: Ann Beha Architects
From the AIA: The Cambridge Public Library has become the civic “Town Common” for a city that celebrates and welcomes its highly diverse community (with over 50 languages spoken in its schools). With its all-glass double-skin curtain wall front facade, the library opens seamlessly out to a major public park. This double-skin curtain wall uses fixed and adjustable technologies to ensure that daylight is infused throughout the interiors and to maximize thermal comfort for the most active patron spaces looking out to the park.
Danish Maritime Museum; Elsinore, Denmark Bjarke Ingels Group
From the AIA: The design solution to the site’s inherent dilemmas was to wrap a subterranean museum around a dry dock like a doughnut, where the hole was the dry dock itself and the centerpiece of the museum’s collection. Three two-level bridges span the dry dock, serving as shortcuts to various sections of the museum. All floors slope gently, so that a visitor continually descends further below the water’s edge to learn about Danish maritime lore. The civil engineering and construction work for the museum were among the most complicated ever undertaken in Denmark.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice; New York City Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
From the AIA: Located in Manhattan, John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s new building provides all the functions of a traditional college campus within the confines of a single city block. SOM’s 625,000-square-foot addition doubles the size of the college’s existing facilities by adding classrooms, laboratories, auditoriums, faculty offices, and social spaces. These functions are arranged within a new 14-story tower and four-story podium topped with an expansive landscaped terrace that serves as an elevated campus commons. A 500-foot-long cascade runs the length of the podium and functions as the social spine of the campus. SOM’s design places a premium on communal and interactive space so that students may enjoy the experiences of a traditional college setting.
Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia WEISS/MANFREDI
From the AIA: Challenging the established model of laboratory buildings, the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology is organized around an ascending spiral that hybridizes the tradition of the campus quadrangle with the public promenade. The Center for Nanotechnology twists its laboratories around a central campus green, opening the sciences to the University of Pennsylvania’s landscape while providing a suite of public spaces within the building for cross-disciplinary collaboration amongst scientists. Here, multiple types—courtyard, laboratory loft, ascending gallery—each with their own distinct histories, are grafted together to create a new, but recognizable hybrid.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park; Brooklyn, New York Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
From the AIA: This project restored 26 acres of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the 19th century and added a new 75,000-square-foot, year-round skating and recreational facility. In the winter, the facility’s two rinks are open for ice skating, and in the summer one rink converts to roller skating and the other to a large water-play fountain. Clad in rough-hewn gray granite, the new LeFrak Center appears to be large stone retaining walls set in the landscape. Much of the structure is tucked into the land. The L-shaped plan consists of the east and north block, both one-story structures with roof terraces connected by a bridge.
Sant Lespwa, Center of Hope; Outside of Hinche, Haiti Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
From the AIA: The Center of Hope, commissioned by World Vision, is located in a rural region in Haiti and provides support, education, and skill building opportunities. The design process involved the entire community from children to elders. Construction included on-the-job skills training for over 100 residents. The courtyard scheme and breezeway capture prevailing winds while opening expansive views to the mountains beyond. Careful planning for natural ventilation, daylighting, water collection, sewage treatment, and electricity generation resulted in a completely self-sufficient building. The participatory and empathetic process created an uplifting environment that inspires hope.
United States Courthouse, Salt Lake City, Utah Thomas Phifer and Partners; Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects
From the AIA: The design of the new United States Courthouse in Salt Lake City emanates from a search for a strong, iconic, transparent, and metaphorically egalitarian form to symbolize the American judiciary system. The primary nature of the courthouse’s cubic mass projects grounded dignity, immovable order, and an equal face to all sides. The 400,000-square-foot, 10-story courthouse resides on a landscaped terrace that spans an entire city block, uniting the new and existing federal courthouses as a public-access amenity while fulfilling a required federal security setback from the street.
Wild Turkey Bourbon Visitor Center; Lawrenceburg, Kentucky De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop
From the AIA: Located on a bluff overlooking the Kentucky River, the visitor center is the newest component of recent additions and expansions to the Wild Turkey Distillery Complex, one of seven original member distilleries of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The 9,140-square-foot facility houses interactive exhibits, a gift shop, event venues, a tasting room, and ancillary support spaces. Utilizing a simple barn silhouette (an interpretation of Kentucky tobacco barns common to the area), the building, clad in a custom chevron pattern of stained wood siding, presents a clear and recognizable marker in the landscape.