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Three Projects That Transform Low-Tech Materials Into Innovative Design

The following article is presented by Materials, ArchDaily's new US product catalog.

How many times in the last year have you heard 3d printing mentioned? What about double-skinned curtain walls or “smart” buildings? High-tech materials almost always seem to dominate the conversation - at least in architectural circles. But using the latest invention in material technology usually does not make a building “innovative.” More often than not, it just makes it expensive and flashy.

Low-tech materials like lumber, stone and brick, on the other hand, are often overlooked, even though the use of local and locally produced materials offers the lowest possible carbon footprint. And while these common materials may seem boring, with a bit of imagination and technical skill, an architect can transform these materials into something fresh. With that in mind, check out three truly innovative projects which use low-tech materials in different and exciting ways.

The 100 Mile House: Innovative 'Locatat' or Just Plain Loca?

If you could construct your house out of materials made, recycled, or found within 100-miles of your lot, would you? And if you did, would you feel proud that you never once stepped into The Home Depot? Would you tout the fact that you took an environmental stand, that you did your bit to help the world?

Would you have?

As we mentioned in February, The Architecture Foundation of British Colombia has launched a competition to construct the 100-mile House. Inspired by the 100-mile Diet of locavore fame, in which you only eat what is grown or harvested within 100 miles of your home, the 100-mile house challenges you to construct historically, “using only materials and systems made/ manufactured / recycled” within a 100 mile radius.

But is this method truly better for the environment? Or just another example of pretentious pseudo-greenery?

More after the break…