James Timberlake's work reflects his belief in beautifully crafted, thoughtfully made buildings holistically integrated to site, program, and people.
James breaks new ground with projects that explore some of today's most important topics—among them, efficient construction methods, resource conservation strategies, and novel use of building materials. Examples include Melvin J. and Claire Levine Hall at the University of Pennsylvania, which employs the first actively ventilated curtainwall of its type in North America; SmartWrap™, a mass-customizable building envelope exhibited at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; Cellophane House™, a fully recyclable, energy-gathering dwelling exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York; and the Embassy of the United States in London, which employs strategies to significantly reduce energy consumption and sets an agenda to achieve carbon neutrality.
More recent projects include the new US Embassy in London; an Integrated Campus Plan at Rice University; a highly sophisticated laboratory facility for the Institute for Energy Efficiency at University of California Santa Barbara; and a private residence in Mendocino County, California.
Under his guidance, the firm has received over 160 design citations, including the AIA Firm Award in 2008 and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in 2010. James and Partner Stephen Kieran were the inaugural recipients of the Benjamin Latrobe Fellowship for architectural design research from the AIA College of Fellows in 2001. Since 2002, they have co-authored five books on architecture, including the influential book refabricating Architecture and more recently, Cellophane House™ and KieranTimberlake: Inquiry. Additionally, a new book titled Alluvium: Dhaka, Bangladesh, in the Crossroads of Water was released in 2015.
James lectures internationally to academic and industry audiences and to the broader public, with recent talks in Singapore, London, Cambridge, Melbourne, New Delhi, and Mumbai. He has served on design award juries in New Zealand, Australia, and Barcelona.
In addition to his architectural practice, James teaches a graduate-level design and research studio at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Design. He has held visiting professorships at the University of Washington, Yale University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Texas at Austin, among other institutions. In 2012, he was appointed by the Obama Administration to serve on the Board of the National Institute of Building Sciences.