Design for Innovation


Interview with Tim Hawk

“What’s so great about Knowlton anyway?” I asked Tim when he sat down next to me.

“I think the idea of doing a building for your peers with your instructors with a well-known and talented design firm out of Atlanta is probably about as great of a crowning achievement we could think of,” he said very earnestly.

Knowlton Hall has a lot of outside-the-box architectural slices to unify the building. As a teaching lab, the intent was to create the building as both a reference point and a pragmatic place for architecture students to draw inspiration. 

Tim mentioned four different “innovations” used on this building to expose students to architecture.

1. Post tension concrete, which was an alternative to the typical post and beam approach. It was poured concrete that was tightened up so that it could stand on its own with columns below for extra support. This means that enough planning had to be coordinated because there was no going back to add things, such as electricity, later on. “Construction was seriously coordinated,” Tim said.
2. The building skin was marble used like shingles. Rain and weather was able to get behind the marble, so a weather barrier and a dense glass insulation that’s “tongue and groove” was used to offset.
3. The glazing system: “We wanted to make the building have big expansions of glass because there was an interior need for natural light in the studios. When you do that, you normally have to put up a curtain wall, but we were already paying for the post tension concrete, so we used that in a store front system and saved 35% in cost,” Tim explained to me.
4. The building’s function is based on its form, meaning that it is utilitarian in its nature. “It is specific to its context. The reason it curves here is because the road curves there. In architecture, there’s a dialog of function fitting into form vs. form following function. This building is the latter.” It’s shaped based on what it needs. “Why is this here? Well, because that’s where we needed light.” Everything serves a purpose.

“You know, this was the first real project we allowed technology to help us create excellence,” Tim said.

2000 Pop Culture Facts

“I have nipples; can you milk me?” Meet the Parents hits theaters everywhere and so did Gladiator. The human brain is fascinating. Seriously. So many gears. Speaking of human brains, though, Dora the Explorer made her debut and helped the kids remember their backpack before they got on the bus where they met up with Cory and Topanga for the last time. In the marriage world, Jen and Brad married and looked like the happiest of happy, but then we remembered Angelina Jolie married Billy Bob Thorton and we really had relationship goals. (And Survivor debuted. What a weird year.)