There was a time when the science of materials was inseparable from architecture itself. Master builders embraced the function of designer, engineer and builder at the same time.
As with agriculture, industry and globalisation have eclipsed these skills in favour of a mono-product dynamic, flooding the sector with standardised, efficient and cheap materials.
Materatek is a place of discovery and inspiration, where architects and builders reconnect with more noble and environmentally friendly materials. Where expertise is made available to professionals so they can achieve their sustainable ambitions.
First and foremost, Materatek is a working tool, a place for exchange where the choice of materials is the subject of personalised reflection, both for the project and for the planet.
Here, we evaluate technical, budgetary, aesthetic and other constraints. And yes, that means no more acting without thinking. It is time to fully embody our role as a master builder!
The budget envelope
Whatever the project, the budget is and remains the crucial element. The good news? It is possible to do better, even with a limited budget. There are healthy, durable materials available at no extra cost to you.
You need to explore the possibilities within your budget.
Mechanical resistance, insulation and hygrometric capacity… Sustainable materials offer a wide range of technical solutions (read the article over “Bio-based materials: an opportunity for net-zero construction and better buildings“).
But you have to choose the right technique for the right place! Although earth is an excellent hygrometric regulator, it will be no use against a damp wall! Choose lime, as it will allow your wall to breathe while preventing mould.
What if you could insulate your home with a material produced in your own region? The short circuit, as well as reuse, is an integral part of our approach.
So, before you start looking for the perfect product, why not take a look around?
Each material has its own history and each producer has a commitment to defend. It is possible to give your project a real identity by favouring reuse, CO2-neutral, biosourced or artisanal materials. What is most important to you?
Sustainable does not mean that your project will look like the house of the three little pigs. Nor, for that matter, like a futuristic vessel built with ultra-innovative materials.
In fact, it is primarily your desires that will guide your steps in Materatek. And don’t worry, there’s something for everyone!
Are you trying to eat seasonally? Building materials follow the same logic, as their availability is not unlimited. Fortunately, there are enough options for you to remain flexible and by buying more locally, you limit your exposure to the vagaries of the global market.
Lastly, what should we learn from all this? First, that each project is unique and each resource is valuable. Secondly, that there are more sustainable materials available for all tastes and budgets. Lastly, that these materials and this knowledge exist and are available to you.
* Article written as part of a collaboration with Ecobuild.brussels and also available here