Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > General > ADE Spotlight | KieranTimberlake

ADE Spotlight | KieranTimberlake

25 Jul 2023
Written by Carly Clifford
KT Volunteer, Madji, helps students complete their architectural structures.
KT Volunteer, Madji, helps students complete their architectural structures.

During ADE's Spring 2023 semester, one firm showed that its dedication to design education was unmatched. KiernanTimberlake's high volume of volunteers proved that ADE is not only essential to our schools but works to foster a better community within firms. The community that is KT was united as they tackled the new challenge of teaching in Philadelphia Schools effortlessly. ADE would like to extend their sincerest thanks to Brandon Cuffy, Maria Jose Fuentes, and Madji Alkture for devoting even more of their time to sit down to be interviewed about their experience as well as all of the KT/ADE team this previous semester.

Q: A goal of ADE is to inform the community about what architects and designers do and why their jobs are important. How do you feel this program has helped the students you have worked with better understand the role of design professions? 
Maria"This program remains invaluable to students who may not otherwise cross paths with the disciplines of architecture and design. It allows students to be exposed to the process designers of all disciplines go through; creating an idea that needs to be implemented into the 3D realm. The students were able to consider concepts that were not only about building and materials but also about how a space is utilized. Students are encouraged to think outside the box of what the status quo allows for builders."

Q: In this short time frame, you essentially became the leader of a classroom filled with students. In what ways has this allowed you to develop your presentation and/or management skills in a new way? 
Majdi: "Designers often talk about what we can do to shape the future for the better. In essence, that is why we entered the field. Of the million different ways to shape the future, I think learning how to teach young students—especially students that are underrepresented in practice today—is one of the most direct and valuable contributions we can make in order to develop presentation and management skills."

Q: A number of volunteers from your firm were paired together during this process of teaching. How did this improve your communication skills within your team at KieranTimberlake? 
Brandon: "In addition to working with colleagues that I may not get to work with on a daily basis, volunteering with ADE has helped reiterate the importance of pursuing curiosities and creating space for diverse perspectives to thrive."

Q: You were all stationed across a number of different underserved schools. How do you feel your ADE team brought something new into the classrooms? 
Maria: "Our ADE team worked hard to be able to give the students something tangible to keep each class which is something new within these classrooms. We worked in preparation before each class to come up with physical models or portions of each weekly lesson we could translate into 3D space. For their final project, students were able to incorporate all lessons from previous classes into their “final” model, which allowed for each student to have ownership of their own piece of architecture."

Q: We have been told that there are a lot of heartwarming moments throughout the ADE semesters. Explain a time your team experienced something like this. 
Majdi: "It was a special moment to assemble the dream classroom with the students on the final day and to see the surprise and awe on their faces as it all came together. Beforehand, each student was focused on the component they were creating, so it was difficult to get a sense of the bigger picture. As each furniture object, light fixture, balloon, and robot was placed into the classroom, the room began to buzz with excitement. When it all came together into an intricate, funky, awesome dream classroom, it became abundantly clear to them that they as a class—as a team—had the ability to shape their world."

Q: We are lucky to work with so many different firms and volunteers who feel passionately about the ADE program. What was Kieran Timberlake’s “why” or mission behind volunteering? Can you describe that from a firm’s perspective? 
Brandon: "Design and architecture is simply the manifestation of the ideas of a group of people. Ensuring that ideation can happen among any and all groups of individuals is critical to the success and relevance of the bright future of design. KieranTimberlake’s practice upholds these values in all of the work we do both inside the office and within our communities."

Interested in volunteering with CFAD's Architecture and Design Education program?  Please reach out to Michael Spain (, Liza Niles (, or Carly Clifford ( for more information.  

Most read

Have your say



1218 Arch StreetPhiladelphia,PA 19107

T (215) 569-3186


This website is powered by