Our friends over at Treehugger introduced us to Kieran Timberlake Associates, an award-winning architecture firmed focused on integrating multiple strategies and perspectives into holistic design practices. Formed in 1984, KTA made sustainability part of their design philosophy long before it was the cool thing to do. Their commitment to sustainable design is evident in the completion of their Loblolly House, located in Taylors Island, Maryland. Built completely off-site and elevated on piles, the environmental impact of the house has been significantly minimized. And KTA’s ecological considerations don’t stop there…

A second home for a family of four, the Loblolly House includes the use of local materials completely produced and supplied within a 500 mile radius of the site. Other sustainable features include the integration of high-performance exterior walls, energy recovery systems, natural ventilation, extensive daylighting and the use of a green roof, all of which can be summed up in Kieran Timberlake Associates description of the “Elements” of Architecture.

+ Kieran Timberlake Associates

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.

4) EXTERIOR SKIN – Transparent and Translucent panels- Off -the- shelf product employed within custom designed hinged and sliding assemblies. Constructed off site as multi level units and attached to the structural frame. The units are placed 16″ forward of a fully retractable double glazed storefront creating a high performance cavity wall assembly.