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Gidman, A., Connelly, A., 2024.

Natural Materials Now

Output Type:Exhibition
Venue:Manchester School of Architecture
Dates:2/2/2024 - 16/2/2024
Number of Works:30

Emissions from the building industry contribute around one-third of the total global carbon footprint. With aspirations to be net zero carbon by the 2050s, we need to rapidly change construction practices. The built environment should be constructed, maintained, replaced, and renewed using natural and finite resources efficiently.

Carbon emissions in the built environment are divided between operational carbon and embodied carbon. This exhibition tackles embodied carbon reduction through asking you to reconsider the construction materials that we commonly use.

Particularly in the developed world, we are wedded to concrete, steel and glass as building materials - all of which have high embodied carbon costs. Natural (biogenic) materials, which come entirely from plant-based sources, may be the antidote to our carbon intensive practices. These materials are abundant and renewable, minimally processed, easily reused and recycled (or returned) to the Earth, and are non-toxic. Using natural materials should be the future in construction.

Through choosing natural materials, we have the power to change the construction industry. This exhibition displays natural material examples to encourage you to interact with them and to inspire you towards making natural materials your first choice in your studio projects (and beyond). Most of the examples here are UK-applicable so if you go onto practice elsewhere in the world, be sure to research the locally sourced and natural materials available.