Pioneering the potential: event review

Over 75 people attended the sold-out Pioneering the Potential symposium and projects tour organised by award-winning cultural review magazine, Fourth Door Research.

The event, supported by Locate East Sussex, brought together architects, designers, construction companies, makers and crafts-people across the South East and provided a full-day introduction to natural building materials featuring a morning symposium and afternoon coach tour visiting projects, and demonstrating East Sussex’s pioneering natural building materials role and potential.

Pioneering The Potential

Date of Event
July 12 2019
Lewes Depot & Flimwell Woodland Enterprise Centre

Supporting the construction industry

The event supports Locate East Sussex's ongoing support for the construction industry in East Sussex which is in the midst of a natural and bio-based building materials revolution. To help meet decarbonisation targets, there is a groundswell of projects, research and momentum to this area of the industry, and with the county's pioneering researchers in sustainable design and construction, our aim is to help promote businesses and researchers working to support the principles of a ‘circular economy’.

East Sussex pioneers in local renewable materials

As we face a climate crisis, timber and other bio and land-based materials are becoming an increasing part of the building sector’s materials portfolio. While most visible is the mainstreaming of engineered timber, and particularly the exponential growth of cross-laminated timber (CLT), there are other plants, fibre and earth-based, as well as less known natural materials, which are becoming source materials for an increasing part of the contemporary built landscape. The South East of England - the most wooded part of England – is home to pioneering work such as at the Flimwell Woodland Enterprise Centre, and is so well placed to take these first steps to uncover the potential of these materials, several stages further. 

The emphasis on natural, renewable materials builds on nearly two decades of R&D and commercial development that could constitute a new phase in the use of locally sourced natural building materials. Pioneering the Potential event was organised to introduce and communicate this building materials revolution, opening a door on the prospective benefits of local materials in the South East, and to highlight what East Sussex has to offer including through Brighton University's Green Growth Platform.

Morning: Seminar Speakers

Anthony Thistleton - WaughThistleton Architects, the leading Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) architects

Craig White – from Bristol’s White Design and inventor of Modcell straw cassette wall panels on the expanding the range of Bio-Based material

David Saunders - ex-director of Flimwell Woodland Enterprise Centre, pioneer of Sussex based timber building materials

Afternoon: Projects Tour – included lunch at Flimwell Woodland Enterprise Centre, plus visits to the Tobias Green Community housing project by Nicholas Pople Architects, and to In-Wood Developments, leading the making of locally sourced timber-based construction materials.

Take a look at the website for Flimwell Park to find out more about upcoming projects.

Next steps

Various next steps and initiatives are now in their early stages including a possible bid for research funding from the SouthEast Economic Partnership Sector Support fund - to research what natural materials are available across the SELEP region.


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