September 18, 2013

Watch: Artwork for Harvard House Reflects History

More than 6100 keys were glued to stained wood backing to create the eight panels placed throughout Stone Hall.

Harvard University's residential housing system includes twelve residential houses, each endowed with its own character and culture that provide undergraduate students with a smaller community within the university as a whole. Following their freshman year in one of the dormitories in Harvard Yard, students transfer to a residential house, where they remain for the rest of their college careers. As part of a larger House Renewal project at Harvard, we recently completed a full renovation of Stone Hall (formerly Old Quincy Hall), a project which improved the living spaces within the building and added social spaces and a smart classroom in the previously underutilized basement.  
The building is five stories, each of which includes two historic fireplaces—used for heating in the past but now decorative. Early in the design process, a desire emerged for a graphic treatment representing the history of the house to be placed above the mantles of these eight fireplaces. Through a brainstorming process involving members of both Harvard University and KieranTimberlake, we developed the idea to create sculptural wall panels using thousands of old room keys used by former residents.

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September 16, 2013

BIM-integrated Life Cycle Assessment

KieranTimberlake researcher Ryan Welch presented a paper on BIM-integrated environmental impact assessment at the 29th annual PLEA (Passive and Low Energy Architecture) Conference in Munich. PLEA 2013 brought together architects, engineers, and academic researchers from over 50 countries to present research around the theme of Energiewende (German for "energy transition"), which considers the shift to a low- or zero-carbon economy. Research topics explored a range of scales, from the human body to the urban environment, and examined sustainability through both cultural and technological lenses.  
"Quantifying the Embodied Environmental Impact of Building Materials During Design," coauthored by Roderick Bates, Stephanie Carlisle, Billie Faircloth, and Ryan Welch, examines the potential for architects to consider embodied environmental impacts as an integral part of their design process. The paper lays out a methodology for resolving the discrepancy between the abstract representation of materials in BIM and the higher resolution of materials required for Life Cycle Assessment. When combined with life cycle inventory data, this information allows architects to understand and refine their designs through the lens of environmental impact. 
While approaches to reducing operational energy are well established within the discipline of architecture, methods for quantifying embodied environmental impacts of building materials have yet to gain traction within the architectural, engineering, construction community due to the difficulty in quantifying building materials and the high cost and limited availability of pertinent life cycle inventory data. Our presentation served as a prescient counterpoint to the operational energy discourse of the conference—and in his closing remarks, Douglas Mulhall posed the quantification of building materials and their impacts as the paramount challenge for next year's PLEA conference.

September 07, 2013

Updated Harvard House Wows Students

The Harvard Gazette reported last week that our renovation of Old Quincy Hall on the campus of Harvard University is a success among students who recently moved in. The first in a series of renewal projects, Old Quincy was used as a test case to gauge future renovations. On September 7, the house was rededicated as Stone Hall.

Updated Quincy a Happy Home 
Colin Manning 
Old Quincy has “wow” factor. 
That's according to students who were moving into the 80-year-old neo-Georgian on Thursday. After 15 months of construction and renovation, Old Quincy, the first test project in the House Renewal initiative, began welcoming students this week. What they found was a fully transformed building designed to enhance the interactions of the multigenerational community living within it. Based on first impressions, the project was a success. 
“I haven't been in a room as nice as this anywhere on campus,” said Fola Sofela '16, as she walked into her six-person suite. 
Sofela marveled at the size of her bedroom, and grinned as she examined the suite's common room, furnished with couches, chairs, and tables. One of her roommates, Lauren Greenawalt '16, pointed out some of the room's details, such as built-in desk lights and electrical outlets, and a mirror on the wardrobe door. 
“Having the rooms fully furnished is nice. It immediately made me feel at home,” Greenawalt said. “Some people say there isn't enough social space on campus, but I think this building goes a long way in addressing that.” 
Modern features were brought into the House to meet the needs of students in the 21st century, but the distinctive character of Old Quincy, based on its unique architectural design, history, and traditions, was maintained. 
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September 06, 2013

Exhibit Shows How Maquettes, Models, and Prototypes Inform Architecture

The full-scale prototype for Loblolly House is a central feature of the Prototyping Architecture exhibition, which runs at Cambridge Galleries Design at Riverside and Waterloo Architecture in Ontario, Canada, October 17 to December 17, 2013.

Organized in conjunction with the ACADIA 2013 Adaptive Architecture conference held October 24-27, 2013, the exhibition includes a post-digital prototype for the Passion Façade of Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Família Basilica; a laser-sintered additively manufactured violin; lightweight prefabricated fabric formwork for on-site cast concrete; an additive manufactured titanium aircraft component; and a Rolls Royce high pressure turbine blade cast and "grown" as a single nickel alloy crystal.

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September 05, 2013

Structural Glass Lifts into Place at Kimmel Center

Specialized suction-cups are used to lift the 22-foot glass panels for the entryway on Spruce Street.

Work continues apace at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and renovation projects are planned to open to the public late 2013. A new entranceway is among the renovations, as is a new restaurant at street level to be operated by Chef Jose Garces. Both projects were identified in our master plan for the Kimmel Center, which seeks to provide transparency and activity to the building perimeter.

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