Kathryn Larsen has used a traditional method of seaweed thatching, to develop seaweed thatch panels for the building industry.
The Danish-based, US-born architectural technologist has found that eelgrass is a naturally fireproof, rot resistant, carbon negative and becomes waterproof after a year. It also insulates while plants can grow within it, letting off the effect of a green roof.
To test the prefabricated seaweed thatched panels, Larsen built an installation on the roof of Copenhagen School of Design and Technology.
After the installation, Larsen found the materials can be reused or recycled, and were still intact after having been outside for eight months.
“I’m really inspired by vernacular architecture and traditional building methods, and when I came to Denmark, I stumbled upon these seaweed houses as I was trying to come up with a charrette,” Larsen says.
The lifespan is said to be up to the wood more than the eelgrass, as a traditional seaweed house can go up to 200 years without needing to have its roof changed, says Larsen.