What Makes a Building Green? Kieran Timberlake Architects


We were first blown away by Kieran Timberlake at the Site::Offsite conference in Austin, where they showed the Loblolly House. Sitting on sensitive land, it is on piles rather than a full foundation. The entire house is built offsite so that the impact of construction is minimized. KTA take green design seriously: " Among the recurring features... is the widespread use of recycled and local materials, such as locally quarried stones and sustainably harvested wood windows. Interior and exterior finishes are often comprised entirely of self-finishing materials which require little or no maintenance. Where possible our buildings are sited to optimize solar orientation, and many integrate inventive daylighting measures through the introduction of atria, light wells, light monitors and skylights. Several recent projects... incorporate vegetated roofs, which aid in stormwater retention and thermal efficiency. Buildings are complex networks of diverse systems operating on multiple scales across time. Our architecture explores ways to artfully interweave these systems around the programs they support. This systems approach can often enable the selective removal and replacement of one with minimal disruption to others. These strategies allow for ongoing life cycle value by reducing material, money and time dedicated to maintenance."

lob components.jpg

the Loblolly House:"This second home for a family of four on the Chesapeake Bay has a simple program for an extraordinary site positioned between a dense grove of loblolly pines and a lush foreground of saltmeadow cordgrass and the bay. The landscape is elemental. The eye sweeps upward from tall grass, through columnar pines, the sea, the horizon, and the sky. The colors, like an Ellsworth Kelly painting, define the range of green and blue, with the west setting sun adding a brief daily burst of orange."

The "Elements" Of Architecture
The idea of an "elemental" Architecture extends to the method of assembly. With a tight construction schedule and without access to skilled local labor, Loblolly House embraces the precision of off- site construction to enhance the elemental poetics of the site and provide the armature for spatial experience. Beyond the traditional pile platforms, prefabrication led to a reexamination of the traditional elements of Architecture and segmented construction typologies into integrated component assemblies.

1) SCAFFOLDING - Anodized aluminum structural components for linear motion assemblies. Each component fabricated off site has a bar code. This allows for precise erection in situ upon the locally driven pilings.

2) COFFERS- "Sandwiches" constructed offsite are prefabricated wood trusses clad in plywood sheets in alternating directions to resist shear. These simultaneously form the floors, ceilings, and roof. Within this 12" deep sandwich are integrated radiant floor heating, insulated micro ducts for air conditioning, and wiring for power, lighting, and data. Each sandwich is 4 feet wide and lengths vary according to the floors and space. They are set upon the aluminum scaffold and bolted together. The top layers of plywood overlap to provide structural continuity.

3) BOXES- Spatial units fabricated off site contain the most complex and intricate elements of the house:
Kitchen Box - All cabinetry and fixtures are constructed as large furniture off site with integrated fixtures and systems, connected on site to waiting utility hookups in the lateral coffers.

Bathroom/Closet Boxes - Floors, walls, ceilings, glazing, roofs, finishes, fixtures and drainage system, power and lighting are finished within the factory and lifted into place at waiting utility hook ups.

Library - Floor, walls, ceilings, glazing, casework, built-in furniture and mechanical electrical systems completely fitted out off-site and lifted into position.

The entire assembly from the platform up is scheduled to be completed in thirty days.

lob elevation.jpg

Read more at ::Kieran Timberlake Architects