The Design Museum in London has opened a new display that investigates construction in the age of climate breakdown. Titled How to Build a Low-Carbon Home, and open until March 2024, the display showcases low-carbon approaches to housing construction that use wood, stone, and straw.
The exhibition centers on the potential of the three ancient low-carbon materials to address the UK’s housing crisis while also meeting climate pledges. While materials commonly used in construction constitute nearly 10 percent of the UK’s carbon emissions, the display “imagines a future in which low-carbon construction is no longer a prize-winning exception by a mainstream reality.”
Each section is dedicated to one of the three resources, tracing its journey from a raw material to a finished architectural component, including its application in contemporary homes by “a new generation of architects.” The three firms included in the exhibition are timber specialists Waugh Thistleton Architects, straw specialists Material Cultures, and stone specialists Groupwork.
The straw section details an “incredibly versatile construction material” at the center of a resurgence of thatching in Western Europe, while the wood section charts the revival of mass timber structures in the 21st century. Finally, the stone section highlights new stone architecture as well as the craftsmanship of the UK’s Lincolnshire stonemasons who hand-shape blocks for sustainable construction.
The exhibition was initiated by the Design Museum’s Future Observatory, a national design research program for the green transition. This particular research project, led by architect Dr. Ruth Lang, includes a broad program of activities to engage the UK construction industry in more sustainable approaches.
Learn more about the exhibition here.
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