February 20, 2015

Investing in Research

Architect magazine recently featured KieranTimberlake in an article about the fusion of design and research at select top firms—including the embedding of new specialized roles like computational designers and materials and sustainability experts among designers. KieranTimberlake, Perkins+Will, and The Living are three firms profiled for integrating research into design processes and services. The author spoke with Billie Faircloth about KieranTimberlake's research ethic, which she says is "intrinsic to what we do."

Three Top Firms That are Pursuing Design Research

Perkins+Will, The Living, and KieranTimberlake are among a new class of architectural practices investing in research. 
By Daniel Davis  
In architecture, it can be difficult to determine where research ends and practice begins. In sectors such as medicine and aerospace, research is distinct from the rest of the business. But architectural research tends to mix with practice. Some argue that design and research are intertwined—that architects are conducting research as their design process leads them to better understand the site and other peculiarities of the project. In this guise, all design is a form of research. 
While design may be considered as a form of research, not all research is a form of design. Ajla Aksamija, leader of Perkins+Will's Tech Lab and co-organizer for this year's Architectural Research Centers Consortium, says that differentiating between actual research and mere marketing is essential. Firms may claim to do research as part of their design initiatives, but historically, few firms have actually invested in research. 
Continue reading

February 02, 2015

Quaker Meeting House Achieves LEED Platinum

The Meeting Room is the metaphorical heart of the Sidwell Friends School campus.
© Michael Moran/OTTO

The Quaker Meeting House and Arts Center at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, has been rated LEED® Platinum—the highest level of environmental certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  
The building represents a maximum reuse of existing resources, transforming a large former gymnasium built in the 1950s into a space of filtered light and silent contemplation. As a retrofit, it does not add additional embodied energy nor create a greater footprint that would impact stormwater flows. The project also makes use of reclaimed materials wherever possible. To eliminate the need for harvesting standing timber, the oak flooring and paneling of the meeting room were made from reclaimed wood sourced from barns in West Virginia and Maryland. New pervious paving in the front courtyard makes use of concrete removed during the renovation to create a porous infill that minimizes stormwater runoff, which causes flooding, erosion, and pollution of local waterways.

Read More