December 2019

We kick things off the final issue of this year by looking at the award-winning Cork House, an innovative and thought-provoking response to pressing questions about the materials that we build with. Designed by Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne (CSK Architects) and Oliver Wilton (UCL), the project seeks to answer questions pertaining to the origins of these materials, how are they fixed together to create a building, and where do these materials go when buildings die? The primary use of cork is complemented by the consistent use of timber for almost everything else. More importantly, the project embodies a strong whole life approach to sustainability, from resource through to end-of-life and it is this ‘whole-life approach’ to sustainability that sets it apart.

Timber was once again in the spotlight at this year’s London Design Festival. ‘A Second Life’ exhibition saw architects transform hundreds of wooden dowels used for the scenography of Matter of Stuff’s 2018 LDF exhibition into an array of experimental new works. By injecting new life into waste material to create varied and extraordinary sculptures for an iconic London venue, the designers wanted to make a statement that goes beyond the importance of sustainable design practices. Also at LDF, Legacy, a collaboration between the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and some of London’s top cultural institutions conveyed the message of sustainability. By asking them to design a ‘legacy’ piece in American red oak, AHEC wanted to point out that in the face of global environmental challenges, any new objects we create should be designed with the intention to last and to be passed on through generations.

We also take an in-depth look at the Odunpazari Modern Museum (OMM) by Kengo Kuma and Associates, which opened in September of this year. With its stacked timber design, inspired by the surrounding streetscape of Odunpazari and its history as a timber trading market, the museum stands as a new landmark that reconnects the town with its heritage, and as a progressive cultural development for Eskişehir. For the opening, renowned Japanese bamboo artist Tanabe Chikunnsai IV created an intricate installation crafted entirely from Tiger Bamboo’ that is unique to one mountain in Kochi, Japan, that complements the striking timber building. In addition, the OMM INN, a new boutique hotel puts a contemporary twist on the Ottoman residential architecture that is synonymous with the town of Odunpazari and echoes the stacked timber structure of the museum.

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