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New Stone Age: Showcasing the Versatile Future of Stone Architecture

Do you have a project formed by an innovative use of stone or new material? Enter it in the Architecture +Stone or Architecture +New Materials categories for the 8th Annual A+Awards.

A new exhibition at London’s Building Centre explores the potential of stone as a modern construction material. Entitled “New Stone Age”, the exhibit “celebrates the sustainability, practicality, and inherent beauty of stone.” 

The New Stone Age exhibition; Photo by Chris Jackson

New Stone Age demonstrates the extent to which stone can be used in contemporary construction and design. As stated by the Building Centre: “In the light of the climate crisis the materials that make up our built environment need more than ever to prove their worth. Stone has serious sustainability credentials; with the ability to reduce a project’s embodied carbon by an incredible 90 per cent compared to typical steel or concrete frames.” The exhibition reinforces this point by displaying a number of recent international projects that are pushing the boundaries of stone as a building material. 

The showcase was curated by architect Amin Taha of Groupwork, structural engineer Steve Webb of Webb Yates, and craftsman Pierre Bidaud of The Stonemasonry Company. The trio previously collaborated to construct 15 Clerkenwell Close, a story housing block in London that has a stone structure. 

15 Clerkenwell Close by Amin Taha + Groupwork in London, UK; Photo by Timothy Soar

15 Clerkenwell beam section exhibited in the New Stone Age exhibition; Photo by John MacLean

Aside from stone’s beauty, strength, and abundance, the material doesn’t require huge amounts of energy to extract and modern improvements in design and analysis techniques allow it to be used in completely new ways, according to Steve Webb. New Stone Age stresses the aesthetic and sustainable quality that stone can provide to the built environment.  

Amongst historic and modern uses of stone, the exhibition also includes a conceptual design of a 30-story skyscraper with a stone structure. According to Dezeen, “The curators calculate that the building would have approximately a 60 per cent reduction in embed carbon compared to a steel frame structure, and around an 80 per cent reduction compared to concrete.” This reflects how stone can be applied to create more sustainable commercial buildings or other large structures. 

New Stone Age

Stone Tower Conceptual Model; Photo by John MacLean

New Stone Age acknowledges past architectural achievements of stone and ushers in the limitless potential of a material that provides such aesthetic and sustainable qualities to the built environment. The exhibition is currently closed due to COVID-19 precautions, but will be on view until September 12, 2020. Head this way for more information.

Do you have a project formed by an innovative use of stone or new material? Enter it in the Architecture +Stone or Architecture +New Materials categories for the 8th Annual A+Awards.

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