Shortlisted for the 2019 Stirling Prize, Cork House, a sustainable home made of cork block in England, has been designed as a comment on the architecture industry’s impact on the environment.

Situated in the undergrowth adjacent to the River Thames, the house features five volumes with stepped, pyramid-like skylights. It is made from sustainably-sourced cork blocks, supported by engineered timber components.

Designed by Howland, Milne and Wilton, the house was made to be easily dismantled, repurposed or recycled.

The architects describe the project as an attempt to make solid walls and a roof from a single bio-renewable material. The firm has been working in collaboration with Bartlett School of Architecture, the University of Bath, Amorim UK and Ty-Mawr to develop a sustainable construction system based primarily on cork.

This system uses expanded cork blocks, composed of cork granules that have been heated to form a solid building material. The blocks are intersected with interlocking joints that work to create self-build solid walls. The system is supported by engineered timber, which not only provides structure and insulation but also makes the structure easy to adapt or recycle.

The research team hopes to develop the system further to achieve standardisation and create a marketable cork construction kit.

Image credit: Howland, Milne and Wilton