Register for our architectural project Talk about the Cork House


The Cork House, designed by CSK Architects in collaboration with Bartlett, will be the subject of Dezeen x Knauf’s next architectural project discussion on Friday 11 June. Register now to watch the webinar.

Matthew Barnett Howland and Dido Milne from Berkshire Architects will join Oliver Wilton from Bartlett to deliver the talk on their carbon negative house, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Stirling Prize.

The Cork House in Berkshire. The photography is by David Grandorge

Located on a small island in the Thames, the Cork House is a one-story apartment building made up of a series of five volumes with pyramidal roofs and walls made of blocks of expanded cork.

The sustainable building is designed to take into account the architectural industry’s contribution to biodiversity loss, carbon emissions and the depletion of planetary resources.

Barnett Howland, Milne and Wilton used expanded cork as the main construction material for the building because it creates less waste in manufacture than conventional materials.

The cork house
The apartment consists of sustainably sourced cork blocks. The photography is by David Grandorge

Expanded cork also picks up leftover product as it is made from the waste that is created when harvesting the bark of cork trees.

In addition, no trees are felled when the bark is harvested, which allows landscapes populated by cork oaks to maintain their biodiversity. This term describes the number and diversity of species in an ecosystem.

The resulting building is carbon negative as the structure can absorb more carbon dioxide than was emitted during the entire construction process.

The cork house
The building has five pyramid-shaped skylights. The photography is by Magnus Dennis

The components were designed as a set of parts for self-assembly and are prefabricated on site and assembled on site like huge Lego parts.

The expanded cork blocks are designed to interlock, eliminating the need for glue and mortar.

The lack of binding agents allows the building to be dismantled into its component parts at the end of its life for reuse or recycling.

The cork house
The cork stays free. The photography is by David Grandorge

Inside, the cork remains free, while wood and copper are used for the remaining structural elements and details.

The Cork House is part of an ongoing research collaboration between Howland, the Bartlett School of Architecture, the University of Bath, Amorium UK and Ty-Mawr.

Over the past seven years, the team has developed sustainable construction systems based on cork.

In addition to being nominated for the Stirling Prize, The Cork House also won the Stephen Lawrence Prize in 2019 and was awarded a Dezeen Prize that same year.

Matthew Barnett Howland
Matthew Barnett Howland, Head of Research and Development at CSK Architects

Barnett Howland is Director of Research and Development at CSK Architects and led The Cork House project.

He also lectures at the Bartlett and has previously taught at the Architectural Association, University of Cambridge and London Metropolitan University, where he was awarded the RIBA Tutor Prize.

Dido Milne
Director of CSK Architects Dido Milne

Milne is the director of CSK Architects. The Eton-based practice specializes in manufacturing bespoke buildings designed to be sensitive to their predominantly historical locations.

In response to climate change, Milne’s work focuses on innovative forms of nature conservation – in particular the reuse and adaptation of existing buildings.

Oliver Wilton
Oliver Wilton from the Bartlett School of Architecture

Wilton is the Technology Director and Lecturer in Environmental Design at the Bartlett in London.

His research and teaching cover research areas such as living, material technology, environmental and energy efficiency as well as the development of new designs.

Wilton is also director of WW Studio and has over 20 years of experience as an architect and environmental design consultant.

Architecture Project Talk: Cork House will take place on Friday, June 11, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. London time. Register for free to watch the webinar.

Architecture project talks

Architecture Project Talks is a series of live CPD webinars in which leading architects give an in-depth talk about one of their key buildings.

Other lectures in the series include lectures on Battersea Arts Center by Haworth Tompkins and 168 Upper Street by Groupwork.

Architecture Project Talks is a partnership with Knauf, the world’s largest manufacturer of gypsum-based building materials.

The latest BBA-certified ThroughWall system from Knauf aims to provide a complete fire protection system from the inside to the outside from a single source. Register with Knauf via the registration page for the webinar to find out more.

Read more about Dezeen partnership content here.


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