Published 17 March 2023

15 min read

The construction sector urgently needs to bolster global biodiversity, strengthen our climate resilience, and construct a new path towards healthier environments. Continuing to reflect on sustainable strategies, we examine natural, low-impact solutions like biomaterials, mass timber and time-honoured building techniques. See also Part 1 of this report duo, Advanced Materials & Manufacturing.

Bio-Based Architecture

Waste as a Raw Material

Rethinking Timber

Adopting Ancient Knowledge

Designing for Multi-Species

Fast-growing, regenerative and carbon-sequestering biomaterials like hemp, mycelium and algae are viable renewable alternatives to carbon-intensive materials like concrete and steel. Researchers and scientists are promoting their low-carbon credentials and their intrinsic natural properties – often considered honest, authentic and biophilic.

Fast-growing, regenerative and carbon-sequestering biomaterials like hemp, mycelium and algae are viable renewable alternatives to carbon-intensive materials like concrete and steel. Researchers and scientists are promoting their low-carbon credentials and their intrinsic natural properties – often considered honest, authentic and biophilic.

Summary

Bio-Based Architecture

Fast-growing, regenerative and carbon-sequestering biomaterials like hemp, mycelium and algae are viable renewable alternatives to carbon-intensive materials like concrete and steel. Researchers and scientists are promoting their low-carbon credentials and their intrinsic natural properties – often considered honest, authentic and biophilic.

Waste as a Raw Material

Considering that construction and demolition debris accounts for nearly 40% of all waste in the EU (ResearchLeap, 2023), circularity is necessary to forgo extracting new materials from the earth. These overlooked resources – plus other industrial by-products and local refuse – are increasingly being incorporated back into building blocks, showcasing their untapped potential.

Rethinking Timber

Timber is a carbon-efficient alternative to conventional building materials, but it requires responsible sourcing, management and construction by skilled engineers and craftsmen. When used effectively, it visibly expresses sustainability. Its natural nuance, character and sensory properties also make it an ideal construction element for healthier, human-centred spaces.

Adopting Ancient Knowledge

Learning from and paying homage to Indigenous wisdom will change the way we embrace and adapt age-old techniques for modern buildings. Progressive architects are seeking to preserve regional economies, crafts and natural ecosystems, and design with sensitivity to local climates by embracing ancient cooling methods and vernacular materials.

Designing for Multi-Species

Biodiversity loss and species decline call for wider ecological thinking. Our S/S 24 Colour & Materials Direction Neo Nature underlines the importance of preserving ecosystems and recentring animals to protect the planet. Bird-friendly façades, living structures and biophilic schools are strategies being used to nurture non-human life forms.

Towards Sustainable Construction: Natural & Waste-Based Solutions

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Topics

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Offering access to over 350 consumer and cross-industry reports annually, Stylus Membership is your window to tomorrow’s most exciting opportunities.

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