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Traditional building materials and sustainability

Wells Cathedral detail

Materials often identified as being the most sustainable in terms of embodied energy (timber, rammed earth, etc) typically have a long history of use. Often the historical use deliberately kept energy use in transportation and conversion to a minimum. One key to building in these materials is an understanding of correct detailing. Traditional detailing is often not understood or the skills in handling these materials may have been lost. The traditional building construction research group is especially interested in the study of traditional building materials and their correct detailing for modern situations and in sensitive conservation situations. The group welcomes suggestions for studies in this area. Current work carried out includes: 

  • Timbrel vaults
  • The detailing of brickwork in the seventeenth century
  • The formation of flat brick arches
  • Large Section Timber-frame construction