Exhibition Free Display

How to Build a Low-Carbon Home

How can we design our homes to respond to the climate emergency? Discover how architects are reimagining wood, stone and straw to design homes fit for the future.

What to expect

With almost 30% of global carbon emissions caused by the construction and running of buildings, there is a need radically rethink the materials we use to build our towns and cities. Rather than experimental new inventions, this display explores three ancient materials that are vital for a low-carbon future: wood, stone and straw.

Through the work of contemporary architects Material Cultures, Waugh Thistleton and Groupwork, as well as engineers Webb Yates, follow the journey of these materials from fields, forests and quarries to cutting-edge buildings. Discover how robotics is revolutionising the fabrication of new timber building parts, how your next home might have a thatched roof and learn what role diamond wire plays in a stonemason’s yard.

Alongside models, samples, tools and photographs, the show features full-scale installations and newly commissioned photography by Oskar Proctor.

Join the conversation with the hashtag #LowCarbonHome

Exhibition photography by Felix Speller

Constructing Flat House, Margent Farm, Cambridgeshire. Image Courtesy of Material Cultures

Installing a prefabricated hemp panel at Flat House, Margent Farm, Cambridgeshire. Image Courtesy of Material Cultures

Exhibition photography by Felix Speller

Exhibition photography by Felix Speller

Rendering of Phoenix housing project. Image Courtesy of Material Cultures

Interior of Rye Apartments, London, by Tikari Works. Photography by Oskar Proctor

Interior of Flat House, Margent Farm, Cambridgeshire, by Material Cultures. Photography by Oskar Proctor

Interior of 15 Clerkenwell Close, London, by Groupwork and Webb Yates. Photography by Oskar Proctor

Exhibition photography by Felix Speller

Exhibition photography by Felix Speller

Construction of Dalston Works, London. Photo by Daniel Shearing. Image courtesy of Waugh Thistleton Architects

Construction of Dalston Works, London. Photo by Daniel Shearing. Image courtesy of Waugh Thistleton Architects

Exhibition photography by Felix Speller

Exhibition photography by Felix Speller

Visit Information

This is a free display. No pre-booking is required.

Open daily from 10.00 – 17:00 Monday-Thursday, 10:00-18:00 Friday to Sunday..

Future Observatory

Launched in November 2021, Future Observatory is the Design Museum's national research programme for the green transition, coordinated in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Background image: Interior of Dalston Works, Dalston, London. Photography by Daniel Shearing. Image courtesy of Waugh Thistleton Architects