UK architects design and create recyclable cork house

By Design

UK architects design and create recyclable cork house

The U.S. government says more innovation is needed in the housing and homebuilding sector- saying technological advancements should be acknowledged and encouraged.

Well, architects in other parts of the world aren’t waiting for their governments to give them a leg up.

CGTN’s Ahmad Coo reports.

Cork is usually used for wine bottles. And after a drink or two- it’s in the trash.

This cork is harvested from the oak trees from around the Mediterranean Sea.

Now some engineers say it could change the way homes are built- with the environment in mind.

At first glance, it’s a typical modern house. But a closer look reveals the extraordinary.

“What I really like about this space is that it’s a very rich sensory experience,” said Dido Milne, one of the architects that designed the cork house.

“So by that I mean it smells of the cork forest, it’s got a very distinct smell. The walls are really warm to the touch and the acoustic is very soft, being pure plant-based material.”

Designed and built by a team of British architects in the town of Eton, It’s made almost entirely of cork.

It’s made of prefabricated cork blocks using a special technology.

“So we developed a robotic milling method in order to form each block, using this cutter that cut some of the blocks”, Oliver Wilton, one of the co-architects said.

“These were a couple of roof block sections which give us a simple horizontal interlock and also a simple vertical interlock, one on top of another.”

There was hardly any heavy construction. Since they’re also light, the house can also be assembled by hand.

“So for me, it was important to build a house out of solid cork because it shows that we can build in relation to sustainability-first principles,” said Matthew Barnett Howland, who also helped design the cork house.

“In other words, using a biorenewable material from a biodiverse landscape in a simple block-based assembly system without glue or mortar.”

The whole building can be taken apart and recycled since the blocks are not treated with fire-retardant chemicals.

Its creators don’t know how long it can stand, but they say similar structures that were inspected still look good after 20 years.

And because it’s recyclable, the house’s carbon output during its lifespan is less than 15% of a newly constructed house in the U.K.