Cork Studio

Studio Bark, London, 2018


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Lenny Codd     Download Original

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The Cork Studio intends to demonstrate how cork could be used in wider practice.

Inspired by cradle-to-cradle principles, each element of the building is natural / compostable, or if man made, built using a 100% pure material than can be easily recycled. No glues, tapes, or other bonding materials have been used to connect the materials, only mechanical fixings that can be taken apart at the end of their useful life.

Cork is a common interior floor finish, and has even been used as external rainscreen cladding. Studio Bark’s aim was to see whether cork could be used as the primary structure as well, thus creating a ‘solid cork’ building and eliminating the need for frames, linings, glues, tapes, breather membranes and wet trades. The prototype was funded and built by Studio Bark as a low-budget research project.

A series of self-initiated experiments relating to fire, water and rot tested the cork block properties, prior to design and construction. Two densities of cork block have been used for the prototype. A lower density block is used for the floor, selected for its insulative properties.

The cork floor blocks are laid directly on levelled sand, without a concrete screed or a damp proof membrane. The walls are made of a higher density block, cut to size and overlapped in a stretcher bond. The prototype studio has been built around an existing young sycamore. While the trunk is enclosed, the detailing around has been conceived to allow the tree to continue growing.

s well as having excellent building credentials (it is strong, durable and insulative) cork is a sustainable product that can be harvested without damaging the cork oak tree. The Cork Studio is a small step towards seeing the material used more extensively in construction. A full write-up of the construction process has been shared on the Studio Bark website for others to use, including research, step by step assembly, costs and suppliers.


  • Begun: Mar 2018
  • Completed: May 2018
  • Floor area: 13m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Total cost: £6,057
  • Funding: Self-funded
  • Address: 56 Allison Road, London, N8 0AT , United Kingdom

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