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  • Posted June 21st, 2012
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    Review of Grand Designs Live, London 2012

    Review of Grand Designs Live, London 2012

    A very big welcome to Lowimpact.org to all our new subscribers who found us at Grand Designs Live, London 2012 – enjoy exploring, and we look forward to seeing you on a course or meeting you in the forums very soon.

    Back in May a fantastic group of natural builders from the Lowimpact.org network came together to bring natural, sustainable building materials and techniques to London’s design lovers – and it all went down a storm!

    May saw us back in the Excel Centre, London, with an inspiring display of natural materials and building techniques. Throughout the week we held practical demonstrations for repair & new build, covering cob building, cob sculpture, cob blocks, hemp blocks, clay boards, clay plasters, lime plasters, hempcrete walls, hempcrete solid floors, wood wool boards, oak timber framing, shingle-making, and strawbale building.

    In keeping with our growing number of factsheets on urban issues at Lowimpact.org, we also further increased our retrofit information section. We presented both a professional approach and a DIY approach to retrofit planning, and had a large demonstration area showing a variety of appropriate natural options for internal & external insulation of solid walls and suspended floors, including breathable membranes, hemp batts, sheepswool batts, woodfibre boards, and cast hempcrete.

    Londoners had the added bonus of meeting Gustavo Montes de Oca [Hackney City Farm] and Linda Royles [Cob in the Community], hearing more about local people and projects to get involved in. Gustavo talks about community-building through beekeeping – particularly capturing peoples’ interest with his project where Hackney youth deliver beekeeping training to city brokers on the roofs of their offices! Linda and the team use cob as a medium for community-building & celebrations – yes, they create beautiful structures, but you’re likely to find yourself singing as you do, and surrounded by people of all ages and backgrounds, with a bucket-load of stories to tell.

    Grand Designs Live, London – Resource List

    If you would like to follow up on information you discovered at the show, or with a particular product or natural builder, here’s a list of everything we had on offer in London this year:

    Natural builders:

    cob & strawbale design & building, repairs, clay & lime plastering, tadelakt – Paul Fitzpatrick, Strawhaus
    cob building in London – Linda Royles, Cob in the Community
    cob design & building, cob sculpting, cob in education – Annabel Fawcus, Alan Cameron-Duff, Earthed
    hempcrete design & building, restoration projects, retrofit – Will Stanwix, Hemp-Lime Construct
    retrofit planning & project management – Patrick McCool, Make My Home Green
    retrofit projects for solid wall properties, insulation [external & internal] – Emma Winfield, Real Refurbs
    strawbale design & building – Paul Wells, Garden Task Force & Bee Rowan, Straw Build
    timber frame design & building – Adrian Leaman, Wholewoods
    coppice products [shingles, hurdles, laths] – Brian Williamson, West Country Coppice
    bee-keeping & community building – Gustavo Montes de Oca, Hackney City Farm

    Natural materials:

    clay boards, woodfibre insulation, cob blocks – provided by Chris Brookman, Back to Earth
    hemp blocks – provided by family-run brickworks, H.G. Matthews
    hemp batts, sheepswool batts – provided by Black Mountain Insulation
    hemp shiv, wood wool board – provided by Hemp-Lime Construct
    prompt, lime – provided by Lime Green
    clay plasters – provided by Adam & Katy of Clayworks


    The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's


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