Studio Landscape + Urbanism

Studio lead: Howard Evans


25.8 Million Hectares of tree cover were lost in 2020 through a combination of deforestation and forest fires.  There has been a 10% decrease in tree cover since 2000, equivalent to 165GT of CO2 emissions. Deforestation has now returned to pre-pandemic levels, making it the highest rate of loss of tree coverage since records began. The UK, at 13%, has one of the lowest percentages of national tree coverage in Europe .  

Set alongside this landscape context is the urgent need to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry.  The use of timber in construction is seen as a key strategy to reaching carbon zero.  Mass adoption of timber construction in the UK faces a myriad of challenges, from the sourcing of most UK construction timber from global sources to the fear of fire, driven by changes in culture following high profile disasters such as Grenfell.

The studio will explore the cultural and historical legacy of our relationship with timber construction.  We will be exploring the woodland network of the National Forest, an area of open woodland in the centre of the UK, stretching from Burton on Trent to Nottingham and Leicester.  We will explore the impact of climate change and the challenge of planting sufficient trees.  We will challenge the orthodoxy that timber construction is the only way to reach zero carbon.

The resultant projects will create briefs that will be wide ranging but may have a focus on the development of operative communities and how they in turn develop support networks for health and wellbeing, learning, working and living.