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Refabricating Architecture

Preoccupation with image and a failure to look at process has led entire generations of architects to overlook transfer technologies and transfer processes. Kieran and Timberlake argue that the time has come to re-evaluate and update the basic design and construction methods that have constrained the building industry throughout its history. They skillfully demonstrate that contemporary architectural construction is a linear process, in both design and construction, where segregation of intelligence and information is the norm. They convince the reader to look at the automobile, shipbuilding, and aerospace industries to learn how to incorporate collective intelligence and nonhierarchical production structures.Those industries have proven to be progressively economic, efficient, and they yield a higher quality product while the production of buildings stagnates in the methods and practices of the nineteenth century. The transfer they envision is the complete integration of design with the craft of assembly supported by the materials scientist, the product engineer, and the process engineer, all using the tools of present information science as the central enabler. The new architecture will not be about style, but rather about substance - about the very methods and processes that underlie making.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Process Engineer and the Aesthetics of ArchitectureArchitecture: Art or Commodity?The Hand and the MachineGreat ArchitectureEquationIntegration - not SegregationTools of the Process EngineerAn Example: The CarResult: Higher QualityMaster BuildingChapter 2: Role Reminders in the New WorldArchitectContractorMaterials ScientistProduct EngineerChapter 3: Enabling Systems as Regulatory StructureEnabling CommunicationsInformation Management/Representation/OrganizationCommunications ExamplesChapter 4: Processes We Do Not SeeIntegrated Component AssemblyModular AssemblyGrand BlocksSectioned AssemblyArchitecture of the JointChapter 5: ArchitectureLessons of ModernismMass ProductionMass CustomizationPresent RealitiesTransfer ProcessesTransfer MaterialsChapter 6: Mass Customization of ArchitectureEvolutionBuilding BlocksPanel MethodsArchitecture, Not BuildingCase Study 1: Grand Block MethodCase Study 2: Panel MethodChapter 7: Evolution Not RevolutionEvolutionary ArchitectureHowWhen

About the Author

In 1984 Stephen Kieran, FAIA, FAAR, and James Timberlake, FAIA, FAAR founded the firm KieranTimberlake Associates LLP, located in Philadelphia. KieranTimberlake Associates LLP has been awarded 40 design awards during the past 20 years, including two Gold Medals and two Distinguished Building Awards from the American Institute of Architects. Stephen Kieran received his Bachelor's degree from Yale University, magna cum laude, and his Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. James Timberlake received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Detroit, with honors, and his Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, with honors. Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake were recipients of the Rome Prize (in 1981 and 1983 respectively) from the American Academy in Rome, and have served as Eero Saarinen Distinguished Professor of Design at Yale University. They were awarded the inaugural 2001 Benjamin Latrobe Fellowship for architectural design research by the AIA College of Fellows. They are also the Max Fisher Chair recipients at the University of Michigan for Spring 2004. They currently serve as Adjunct Professors at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design where they lead a graduate research studio that explores the emerging interface between architecture as high art and the integration of developing technologies in materials science and product engineering. They lecture internationally about the processes and methods that underlie transfer technologies and what has been their involvement in this new architecture. Their firm's work has been published and featured in Manual, the Architecture of KieranTimberlake (Princeton Architectural Press, 2002); and numerous publications including Architectural Record, Cambridge University's Architectural Research Quarterly, Interiors, Interior Design, WIRED Magazine, and The New York Times.


Few architects have considered building carefully and insightfully...opportunity to improve...quality and speed of construction and design. Architectural Record 20040801 By using thoughtfully designed elements...buildings can be "produced" in less time and at less cost while remaining true to good design and the needs of the space. Civil Engineering 20040401 Excerpts from Get Smart section of magazine by Barbara Flanagan Implacable sculpture made by ancient methods is no way to build now, say architects Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake...the partners claim that a new industrial revolution ought to transform the way buildings are planned, designed, constructed, and operated. In short, they want to redesign design. Why do ships, cars, planes, and spaceships keep getting better, while buildings don't budge? Part of the problem is that architects don't fully exploit "transfer technologies" -- that is they don't mine fields outside their niche. To speed the progress, Kieran Timberlake tries to turn down projects with "obvious" solutions and has, for the past two years, run a tiny inhouse think tank for nonapplied research... SmartWrap, exhibited last fall at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, is one fruit of the 55-person firm's collaboration with students and with manufacturers such as DuPont. The project, resembling gift-wrapped scaffolding, showcased a "first-generation prototype" of a potential building material that absorbs energy and then uses it to heat, cool, light, decorate, and communicate. ... ...the firm's proudest achievement is the new addition to Penn's engineering school. Their plot to undermine architecture emerges in their new book refabricating Architecture. I.D. Magazine 20040115

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