Welcome to the first post linked to the newsletter!
August is about to end and the latest news have been just too much to be popped with a light heart into our readers’ mailboxes so we preferred to dedicate an article to them and see how it goes.
Over the last weeks there has been much ado about shortage of building materials.
We have all heard that timber is scarce, construction sites are slowing down, builders are busy (more than usual diring this season) and delays are piling up in many cases.
The BBC published an article about shortage of timber due to “unprecedent post-lockdown demand”, reminding us that the UK imports about 80% of this material.
Speaking with some of our joiners to understand what is actually going on, besides what the media say, we heard that the supply is more difficult and we have also been told that it is mostly for logistic delays: confirming orders, loading lorries, checking warehouses…
Potentially a side effect of the track-&-trace Ping-demic which has recently brought many people to self isolate across all the industries, effecting the distribution chain.
For sure the demand of timber has grown, and it looks like some supply problems started at the source.
What to do?
Timber remains a basic and precious construction material and trees take many years before being ready to be processed.
Also, extensive mono-colture of trees impacts the biodiversity of the area so it is absolutely important, in this age, to ensure the balance is respected.
We know there are possible alternatives to timber, all it takes is a change of how we look at the construction process, so we can leave more trees fulfilling their carbon-sequestering duty.
One short term solution is to upcycle timber for non-structural use, reducing the amount of new materials to be purchased.
Also, instead of timber, some works can be done using derivates or by-products.
A mid and long term solution could be the implementation of bamboo cross laminates for structural and non structural uses.
With bonus points such as a fast growth rate, retention of soil, reduction of landslides, additional absorption of rainwater, bamboo is a great candidate to become the next (or re-discovered) building material.
The specs of bamboo composites are consistent and they can be certified for construction.
This brings us to the second topic, literally hot.
Data associated to wheather phenomena such as heat waves, floods and fires, have been recorded around the world this summer and gathered in a model which confirms these extraordinary events can happen the way they happened because the climate change is here, now.
In case any one had any doubt.
This means more frequent and hotter heatwaves, more frequent floods, less and less “good seasons”.
If you want to read the report post from the IPCC click here.
For a more journalistic reading, the Guardian has published their take here.
What is this having to do with Architecture, I hear you asking?
The construction industry plays a role in how the climate is changing and it’s up to each one of us to take wise decisions.
A politician, a developer, a school teacher, a farmer, a postman, your neighbour, yourself, me…
What we do today we do it to our kids.
And over the last 5 years much has been said about people re-thinking parenthood for reasons related to what the world will be like in the short future.
(Guardian 2017, BBC 2019, CNBC 2021)
We renew our commitment to deliver sustainble design for a brighter future, and ask you to commit too, understanding the importance of every single choice.
Beauty, after the beast.
After the umpteenth rant about the beast subject of climate and future, let’s downscale to something more “mundane”.
Back in August 2020 the government outlined the “Planning for the Future” document, followed by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick creating the “Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission” (link).
The purpose of this is, in a nutshell, to regenerate places, create better communities and basically say no to ugliness, for every scale of development.
This would also require to help Planning Authorities decide providing guidelines and assistance where required.
A recent study, published last month by the Place Alliance in response of a recent relaunch of the Government’s “beauty agenda”, found that 75% of planning authorities have no access to architectural advice and it could take 50 years before this is fixed having at least one urban design officer for each LPA (read more here).
So trust your favourite Architects’ advice to be ahead in the beautification game.
Open Studios (again)
In the meantime, if you have a project to talk about (or any other question),
you can contact us and book a free consultation.
It’s as simple as clicking on this link and book your call back at your convenience.
See you at the open studios!