Bauhaus Earth Names Material Cultures First BE-FELLOW

bauhaus earth

Bauhaus Earth is pleased to announce the award of its first Fellowship (BE-FELLOW) to Material Cultures with the project “Constructive Land Berlin/Brandenburg”. 

Material Cultures Team: George Massoud, Summer Islam, Paloma Gormley (Image: Ryan Prince)

Material Cultures

Material Cultures is a not-for-profit organization founded to bring together design, material research, and high-level strategic thinking to make meaningful progress towards a post-carbon built environment. They work at the intersection of architectural design, engineering, systems thinking, digital technologies, and material science, with a focus on regenerative material sourcing and circular economies. 

Material Cultures investigates how material and industrial cultures shape the world. They challenge the regulations, supply chains, and processes that to a large extent dictate how the buildings we inhabit are made, function, and feel. Their projects engage with the barriers to change, from land-use and policy constraints to technical and material challenges in supply chains and on site. 

Through their work, they have demonstrated that low embodied carbon, local materials can be more affordable and durable than globally-sourced, petrochemical-derivative ones, and are capable of comfortably meeting and outperforming industry standards.

Material Cultures Research Project with Master students at Central Saint Martins: Carbon Copies (2021)

Fellowship Project “Constructive Land Berlin/Brandenburg”

In their BE-FELLOW project, Material Cultures built off the methodology of their ongoing research on sustainable forestry and regenerative land management in the UK, Constructive Land. Their project “Constructive Land Berlin/Brandenburg” investigated the potential of rewetting peatlands in Brandenburg for the production of regional biobased building materials. The project represents the experimental transfer of the previously developed methods to a new political, climatic, and cultural context: from the North-East and Yorkshire in the UK to Berlin and Brandenburg. This transfer reveals universal and specific properties of the methodology and tests its suitability for use in different contexts.

The fellowship was divided into two phases of work:

1) A research report,  “Wetlands and Construction: An Opportunity for Berlin-Brandenburg”, examining the problem of drained peatlands and the potential of rewetting them. The report found that well-planned peatland restoration can not only mitigate current CO2 emissions, but can also produce a variety of building materials from perennial biomass. This includes plants such as reeds, sedges, reed canary grass, typha, willow, and alder wood.

2) A two-part prototype of 1:1 building fragments. This protoype was built in the Bauhaus Earth Marienpark LAB using various paludiculture-based materials. By tangibly demonstrating the use of carbon-negative materials cultivated on rewetted peatlands, it aims to promote peatland carbon capture and support a regional, bio-based building industry. The paludiculture “Fragment” was displayed at Akademie der Künste, Berlin – read more about it here.

Photograph of the paludiculture prototype at The Great Repair exhibition

Material Cultures’ paludiculture prototype at The Great Repair exhibition at Akademie der Künste, October 14th, 2023, to January 14th, 2023 (Image: David von Becker)

Bauhaus Earth Fellowship Program

The project-based Bauhaus Earth Fellowship Program (BE-FELLOW) is addressed to a diverse spectrum of emerging international practitioners in the fields of architecture, art, design, and engineering, as well as to cross- and interdisciplinary constellations of architectural production. The objective of the program is to identify new, powerful architectural languages of a sustainable built environment and to support its transformation by means of architectural quality and design expression.

BE-FELLOW is a collaboration between Bauhaus Earth and Experimental, a non-profit organization founded by Prof. Regine Leibinger.

For more information, visit the BE-FELLOW page.

Material Cultures Demonstrator Project: Clearfell House (ongoing) (Drawing: Lucy Daw, Hannah Millet, Elliot Wedge)


Title image: Material Cultures Demonstrator Project: Rock Hut (2020) (Image: Rachel Hayton)