Coastal environments have provided materials useful for the construction of roads, foundations, floors, walls and roofs for millennia. In regions as removed as Guangzhou, the Isle of Skye, and Taipei, the shells of molluscs have been used in buildings to help regulate internal temperature and humidity. Whether whole, crushed into aggregate, or burned into lime mortar, the natural cement production of shells and their utility in the built environment proves that food ingredients and construction materials are not as separate as they may first appear.
CLIMAVORE has partnered with West Highland College for their Construction Skills Course. The new programme encourages students to think about building methods that use waste byproducts and local materials of intertidal origin.
Learning from historic applications and techniques, workshops on the manufacture and use of tabby concrete, seaweed thatching and insulation, or shell composites, the programme investigates how they could be incorporated in contemporary construction with novel approaches. Ultimately, students explore a range of sometimes overlooked materials and the potential to upcycle and extend their lifespan, while reducing the ecological impact of the built environment.
Workshops led by Olli Blair, James Wilson and Ewan Thomson explored seaweed thatch, tidal bioplastics, crop-waste walls, and crushed seashell tiles. Within this course, we tied food-webs with building-walls; teaching how to build and construct CLIMAVORE.