Groundbreaking ideas for architecture with natural stone: exhibition „The New Stone Age” in London re-opened until August 28, 2020

The exhibition „The New Stone Age” at the Building Centre in London. Photo: webpage

Shown are concepts from all over Europe that show the versatility and modernity of the “‘great forgotten material of our time”

Until August 28, 2020, the exhibition „The New Stone Age” can be seen at the Building Centre in London. In March, before the Covid-19-outbreak, it had been open only for a few days, but now it again shows some groundbreaking innovative ideas for construction: visitors can e.g. see the model of a 30 story building with a stone exoskeleton which has not only a minimal carbon footprint compared to concrete but is also cheaper. The concept is based on architect Amin Taha’s block of apartments and an office at 15 Clerkenwell Close (see the link to our report below).

A study has been done about the outstanding features of Taha’s construction idea. We quote from the conclusions: “While the cost of the material and its erection on a 30 story structure is estimated to be marginally greater than steel or concrete, it is the inherent finish of the stone which then saves considerably on the overall cost outcome as both steel and concrete would have to fireproofed, weathered, insulated then clad… These later processes adding capital cost and time on site while a load bearing stone exoskeleton is essentially already self-finished… As the exoskeleton also acts as a brise soleil the glazing performance can be lighter as can the MEP systems as less energy is required for cooling in summer.”

Other innovative ideas in the exhibition are, to name a few: a “flat vault” made of interlocking stones that span to three-by-three-meters by Palestinian architects AAU Anastas, or models of spiraling stone stairs from Italy. French architect Gilles Perraudin surprises with his concept of building with massive stones where he piles small rectangle stone blocks to form walls and houses. It’s the weight that keeps the pieces in place – no mortar is needed, only the joints have to be filled.

After a demolition, the stone blocks may be reused – so the material costs of such a house are like deposits in a savings bank, so to say.

“The exhibition provides an opportunity to broaden the discussion of stone, to acknowledge past architectural achievements and introduce a new generation of architects pushing the boundaries of what is possible with a material that combines practicality and beauty,” as said on the webpage.

Sponsors of the exhibition were Canadian Polycor stone company and The Stonemasonry Company Ltd. from the UK.

Building Centre, London

Stone Tower Research Project

See also:

(14.07.2020, USA: 07.14.2020)