Articles

Publications and other research coverage:

What’s stopping us from measuring embodied carbon?

In the second article of her new series, engineer Anna Beckett asks why an embodied carbon assessment isn’t done as standard on every project.

 

What’s stopping us from re-using materials?

In the first of a new series, engineer Anna Beckett shows how some fresh thinking could solve apparently intractable issues.

 

Creative thinking needed to tackle growing threat of urban flooding

Surface water flooding not only affects infrastructure and property, it can also cause loss of life. As we focus on refurbishing and refitting existing buildings, we should take the problem more seriously, Tom Webster writes

 

Lay off the plasterboard and cladding

Cutting out the layers can make buildings more sustainable, argues Steve Webb.

 

Concrete and climate-compatible design

If the economics of your project make concrete irresistible, there are still ways to minimise its carbon impact. Steve Webb and Liam Bryant explains how.

 

The trouble with timber: What’s stopping the switch to wood?

Enlightened designers and local authorities often consider timber construction, but the same objections seem to crop up. So what’s stopping everyone? Asks Steve Webb

 

Time to put cars in their place – underground

The economy needs some big infrastructure projects. How about burying a few roads, asks Steve Webb.

 

Climate action: we can put a block on brick

Despite its embodied carbon, masonry is still the default construction method. What are the alternatives?

 

New ways to design carbon-friendly, fire-safe towers

Fire and loadings limit structural timber in towers but concrete is carbon heavy. How about using the strengths of each?

 

AJ Climate Champions podcast

Steve Webb joins the latest Architects' Journal Climate Champions podcast with Hattie Hartman.

 

Saving the earth: making the case for rammed earth architecture

The use of rammed earth in UK and European architecture is on the rise. Scott Boote, associate at Webb Yates Engineers, makes the case for using this ancient method in contemporary construction.

 

Structural issues: the cost of material and the value of labour

 

How to slash CO2 in home improvement projects

Home extension projects can be very heavy on embodied carbon, but there are greener ways to manage the load – and they’re cheaper too.

 

Build back better with sustainable structures

Housebuilding is central to plans to kickstart the economy, but we need to start rethinking the way we build if ‘build back better’ is to avoid severe environmental damage, says Steve Webb, Director, Webb Yates.

 

Stone as a structural material - Part 4: Contemporary loadbearing stone buildings

Not all contemporary innovation is about exploiting digital fabrication or creating wild new forms. By applying a new way of thinking to traditional materials and craft, geometrically simple and innovative structures can be realised that are both elegant and environmentally ethical.

 

Stone as a structural material - Part 3: Post-tensioned stone structures

To utilise stone’s high ratio of compressive to tensile strength to maximum effect, stone structures can be compressed using tensioned cables or bars. Post-tensioned stone increases the failure load of stone in bending, but also the stiffness of a structure by reducing joint cracking.

 

Stone as a structural material - Part 2: Traditional and reinforced stone stairs

Since the construction of the first British example of a cantilever stone staircase (Inigo Jones’ ‘tulip’ staircase in Queen’s House in Greenwich, 1629–35), this technique has served as both grand statement and modest utility. The structural principles are now widely understood, but by adopting a creative approach to structural analysis, design and detailing, they can be combined and extrapolated to design and construct more refined structures in myriad applications.

 

Stone as a structural material - Part 1: Mechanical properties

Dimension stone has been employed as a structural material for thousands of years, but its use has declined in recent times.

 

Why the time is ripe for a return to stone as a structural material

If you’re looking for a low carbon, reusable material that is strong, robust and beautiful, stone is ready for a revival. 

 

Time to stop tinkering with global warming

Design decisions on materials are disproportionately damning the world to further climate change. Some stark numbers put it in context.

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