Design Raid > News > New Design Museum display explores how to build low-carbon homes
New Design Museum display explores how to build low-carbon homes
The Design Museum is currently hosting a new exhibition titled "How to build Low-carbon Homes," highlighting innovative methods for creating environmentally friendly housing.
Curated by Aline Chahine |
August 27, 2023
| Est. Reading: 3 minutes
The free display, open until March 2024, explores construction and architecture in the age of climate breakdown. It focuses on three ancient low-carbon materials — stone, straw and wood — and their potential in enabling the UK to address the housing crisis while also meeting climate pledges. The display will show how these three resources are being championed through the work of a new generation of architects, who have been pioneering their use in ambitious and innovative construction projects across the UK.
How to Build a Low-Carbon Home was initiated by the Design Museum’s Future Observatory, a national design research programme for the green transition. This particular research project, led by architect Dr Ruth Lang, includes a broad programme of activities to engage the UK construction industry in more sustainable approaches. Future Observatory was launched in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The display explores the urgent need to rethink the way we build our towns and cities, to respond to both the housing and climate crises. Materials commonly used in construction, such as steel and concrete, contribute to nearly 10 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions. The display imagines a future in which low-carbon construction is no longer a prize-winning exception but a mainstream reality.
Each section is dedicated to one of the three resources, tracing its journey from raw material to building material to architecture. Rather than radical novelties, visitors will see how seemingly traditional wood, stone and straw are being revolutionised for contemporary homes.
Straw is an incredibly versatile construction material that can be combined with other natural resources like clay to make a range of building components: including walls, bricks and insulation. The display will include a section on the resurgence of thatching in western Europe, and full-scale models of building sections using straw-based materials.
Wood is experiencing a renaissance as a building material. Timber fell out of favour for much of the twentieth century, as large and complex structures required stronger materials. Made by assembling wood pieces, engineered timber elements are being used to construct astonishing new in central London, which was nominated for the 2021 Stirling Prize.
How to Build a Low-Carbon Home 8 July 2023 – March 2024 Location: Balcony, 1 st floor Tickets: Free (no booking required)
About future Observatory
Future Observatory is the Design Museum’s national research programme for the green transition. Launched in November 2021, Future Observatory is coordinated by the Design Museum in exhibitions and significantly extend its learning programme. Since opening in Kensington in 2016, the Design Museum has hosted major exhibitions including Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, Moving to Mars, Amy: Beyond the Stage, Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street, Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers, Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life, Football: Designing the Beautiful Game and Waste Age: What can design do?
In 2021, the Design Museum launched Future Observatory, a national design research programme for the green transition. The three-year programme is coordinated by the Design Museum in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
In April 2023, the museum opened a landmark exhibition with globally renowned artist Ai Weiwei. Ai Weiwei: Making Sense is the artist’s very first design-focussed exhibition and is his largest UK exhibition in eight years.