This Building Material Is a Corker

April 26, 2019
In fact, it is cork. An increasing number of architects and home designers are using cork for more than décor, including roof cladding, insulation, and flooring.
Photo: Unsplash

In fact, it is cork. An increasing number of architects and home designers are using cork for more than décor, including roof cladding, insulation, and flooring.

Architect Tom Surman, principal and co-founder at London-based firm Surman Weston, tells The New York Times, “It is a sort of a wonder product in terms of sustainability. Before we researched it, we didn’t realize how sustainable it was.” Along with a green roof of wildflowers and birch plywood in the interior, the firm used cork to clad the exterior of the Cork Study, a garden studio for a couple in North London. The design was shortlisted in 2017 for a Royal Institute of British Architects award.  “It can do so much as a building material... It offers thermal and acoustic insulation. It’s weatherproof. It’s lightweight.”

In Berlin, the architectural firm Rundzwei recently completed a residential project called the Korkenzieher Haus, or Corkscrew House. Shaped by strict size regulations, the four-bedroom, four-bath home features a staggered spatial arrangement with a sunken lower level including the master bedroom with direct access to an outdoor lap pool. A sculptural central staircase in timber spirals up through the multiple levels, culminating in a pitched skylight. Together with these features, the home takes its name from its facade and roof, clad entirely in cork.

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