Gallery: PREFAB FRIDAYS: Kieran Timberlake Associates


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.


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  1. Inhabitat » New G... March 21, 2008 at 10:37 am

    […] to amaze us with stunning residential designs that define the true synthesis of green building and architectural excellence. We’ve also been equally enthralled by the business vision of Steve Glenn’s LivingHomes, a […]

  2. R. Manley Lucas January 7, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Am developing a “green” site @ Lake Waccamaw North Carolina and would love to have several of these homes to complement several other designs for Phase I of Pickett Pointe Parks. PPP contains 74.65 acres with a mixture of commercial, multi-family and single family. would you call or e-mail soon. We are in the land plan stage and would like to site specific styles in designated areas. (910) 538-7516

  3. joost oolders January 13, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Also i saw the house in Wired. I wonder what the costs are. (I see that question more above.) Is there an answer?

  4. Weintzen Twyziack January 7, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Q: Where can I get one, when can I get one and how much is it going to cost me?
    Hurry and tell me before I build one myself (just kidding).

  5. Inhabitat » PREFA... January 5, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    […] We first got excited about Kieran Timberlake Associates’ Loblolly House over a year ago, when it was still just the promising conceptual brainchild of the Philadelphia-based firm. The Loblolly House has since been completed (AND featured in the January 2007 issue of Wired as one of seven “green and high-tech” projects), and demonstrates a truly unique approach to prefab and an eye-catching aesthetic to boot. Named for the tall pine trees native to the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland site, the Loblolly House represents a non-traditional, component-based approach to prefab construction, in which a “kit-of-parts,” much like in automotive assembly, can be unbolted and rebuilt in different configurations for a different site or house. These “Elements of Architecture,” as KTA calls them, range in size and function, from the prefab room modules to the aluminum frame, green roof, and coffered floor system. […]

  6. George J. Proferes January 1, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    I saw the article on it in Wired too and was also interested in the extimated cost of construction of the 2000 sq ft model.

  7. diane wright December 31, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    I am very interested in the cost of a 2000 square foot model. How much does it cost?

  8. N Degeneffe December 24, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    How much do these cost? Do you have a 1000 Square foot model? I saw this in the magazine Wired and am very intereseted.

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