Stories about Sustainability – Material Provenance



Stories about Sustainability presents ideas inspired by architecture, materials and history from around the world.

As a city built on clay and gravel, London has no native stones. So stone has always been a precious architectural commodity, with stones flowing into the capital for continuous use and re-use. For this talk in the Stories about Sustainability series, Matthew Barnett Howland and Oliver Wilton will present a project for the temporary re-use of granite from Bazalgette’s river wall at Victoria Embankment at a series of locations in the City of London – From the Thames to Eternity. The stones are still youthful with a potential lifespan of several thousands of years, during which they could contribute to many architectures. This work questions the conventional understanding of components as subsidiary to buildings, and will be discussed within the speakers’ broader interests in resource systems and architecture lifecycle.

They will be joined in conversation by Juliet Haysom who will share her own work and teaching with stone at the AA to consider how the re-use of stone can change our approach to how we build.

MATTHEW BARNETT HOWLAND is Director of R&D at CSK Architects and is an Associate Professor in Architecture at the Bartlett UCL. He led on the research, design and construction of Cork House, a pilot project for an innovative solid cork construction kit with outstanding whole life performance. Cork House was shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize and was the winner of the RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize.

OLIVER WILTON is Director of Technology and Associate Professor in Environmental Design at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where he is responsible for working with colleagues in developing, augmenting and leading the School strategy for technology in architecture. His research covers diverse matters including inhabitation, material technology, environmental and energy performance, and developing new forms of construction.

JULIET HAYSOM trained in Fine Art at The Ruskin School, University of Oxford and the RCA, later completing RIBA Part 1 at the AA. She recently worked with fabricators to cast two architectural follies within a new park in Bristol and in Summer 2021 she collaborated with Dip18 tutor Aude-Line Duliere to develop a commission using stone salvaged from the V&A’s facade for the London Design Festival 2021 at the V&A. Juliet is keen to develop teaching opportunities to introduce students to stone, its associated workshop processes, and its potential as a contemporary architectural material.

Image: Granite blocks from the Thames Embankment to the nth use. © Oliver Wilton and Matthew Barnett Howland

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