OJBLab: Temperature

From coast to coast, The OJB team encounters temperature in its every form. The Boston office has to shovel snow and turn up the heater during the winter freezes while Houston experiences dramatic 100+ degree heat during one-third of the year and San Diego gets to bask in the glory of consistently brilliant weather.  However, what is temperature really? According to everyone’s favorite quick answer, Wikipedia tells us, “Temperature is an objective comparative measurement of hot or cold.” This definition sets us up for many design opportunities. Temperature recognition is key to our ambition of creating outdoor spaces that you can occupy as often as possible. We also strive to increase the performance of buildings with material considerations, shade and wind flow.

In Boston, the Partners HealthCare Administrative Campus roof deck was positioned to absorb the sunshine during the winter and lend relief from the sun during the summer. The trees placed on the roof naturally offer sun when the leaves have fallen in the winter time and shade during full bloom. In Houston, the gravel seating court at the Brochstein Pavilion offers students comfortable outdoor study and meeting space year-round through its design. Light gravel was selected with a solar reflectance value of +/- .34 and a thermal emittance of 0.9, which deflects light and releases heat quickly. The grove of 48 specimen Allee Lacebark Elms provides shade to the seating court below, cooling the space by up to ten degrees. A water feature placed centrally in the outdoor study room offers additional cooling and ambiance creation. For the Rice student walking around campus on a 95 degree September day, an 80-degree study space is comparatively more useable and enjoyable. In Los Angeles at Burbank Studios, 300 linear feet of vines spaced 10 inches on center allow for partial sunlight and heat to enter the courtyard. This creates the ideal space for a morning cup of coffee or an afternoon break with colleagues.

Passive and active design strategies for the outdoor environment continue to be important, especially as humans start to develop land in extreme weather conditions.


Work meetings and phone calls occur outside at the Burbank Studios.

Taking a pause at the end of the day on the rooftop of Partners HealthCare.

The tree canopy and water feature at Brochstein Pavilion make this the ideal place to gather on the Rice University Campus.