Research Blog

Benefits of Building With Hemp, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 5)

This is the fifth post in our Super Natural Materials series - you can view the whole series here. Hemp is a plant that holds extraordinary history, from its use as paper, to Hemp Plastic, to its versatile uses within construction… the use of the material within building is becoming ...
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clay plasters

Breath Easy & Discover the Rich Natural Beauty of Clay Plasters

This is a guest post by Clare Whitney, Clayworks  The humble clay plaster has evolved into a thing of beauty Clay is one of the world’s most ancient building materials – and one of the most naturally abundant. It is a natural mineral, deriving predominantly from Feldspar, one of the most ...
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building with stone super natural materials

Benefits of Building With Stone, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 4)

This is the fourth post in our Super Natural Materials series – you can view the whole series here. From smart townhouses to grand mansions to medieval castles to cosy worker cottages to ancient temples, building with stone stretches back to prehistoric times. It’s one of three oldest building materials ...
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investing in sustainable design

3 Ways Investing In Sustainable Design Pays Off

Embarking on a custom-build project where you commission an architect to design your new home is a life changing decision. It’s also likely to be one of the biggest investments you will make and you need to be sure it’s a sound financial investment. Sometimes concerns about keeping costs down ...
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building with clay

The Benefits of Building With Clay, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 3)

This is the third post in our Super Natural Materials series – you can view the whole series here. The use of clay dates back to the earliest human civilisation and clay bricks have been a popular building material since the Babylonian civilisation in 3000BC. The naturally malleable fine-grained earthy material ...
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Contextual design

Get Planning Permission For Your Dream Home With Contextual Design

So many people have a vision of their dream home and have the financial capacity to make it real, only they’re held back by the fear that planners will refuse their bold plan, the neighbours will hate it and they’ll have their dream squashed before they even get started. Can ...
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Super Natural Materials zinc

The Benefits of Building With Zinc, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 2)

This is the second post in our Super Natural Materials series - you can view the whole series here. Zinc is an abundant, lightweight and shiny metal which has long been used in construction for roofs and vertical cladding. It is perhaps most extensively used in Paris, where the majority of ...
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design improves your quality of life

How Good Design Improves Your Quality of Life

Does design improve your quality of life? You may think this an obvious question. Many people take it for granted that a beautiful comfortable home that suits their lifestyle and personal style will obviously make them and their family happier. But what if you’re not 100% convinced? Are you considering a ...
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natural materials timber

The Benefits of Building With Timber, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 1)

This post is the first in our Super Natural Materials series. Timber is one of the most popular building materials and has been used for building since ancient times. It’s great versatility means it’s used in all areas of construction, architecture and design - from structural frames to finishes to ...
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super natural materials

#SuperNaturalMaterials Series: The Power of Natural Materials

Natural materials have superior sustainability and health benefits over artificial materials, and in many cases they're also cost competitive. As architects specialising in sustainable contemporary design, we specify natural materials such as timber, zinc, copper, wool insulation and plant-based paints in our projects as standard practice. With this new blog ...
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road ahead for green building trends

11 High-Impact Green Building Trends To Watch In 2017

It’s that time of year when we all take stock and look towards the year ahead, making predictions and educated guesses about how the next 12 months will play out. So we got our heads together in the Koru Architects office and discussed the key trends we see for sustainable ...
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How To Choose Your Renewable Energy Sources

You know you want your new dream home to include some green energy generation, so you can be more independent, save money in the long term, and do your bit for the planet. But how do you know what’s right for you? There’s so many factors at work in choosing ...
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How The Housing Crisis Threatens Human Rights

Everyone needs a home to call their own. That’s a common need that people of all backgrounds share. A decent home is certainly something that every one of us wants and needs, but is it something we have a right to? In the context of the UK’s housing crisis, and ...
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Make Your Home Uniquely Sustainable with Upcycling: 5 Examples

Why should wine bottles be thrown in landfill, or even collected for recycling, when they could be made into a chandelier? Why throw out old car tyres when they could enjoy a new life as garden planters? Why let the council collect your used tin cans when your kids can ...
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7 Ways Eco Workplace Design Will Boost Your Profits

The myth that eco-design is “only” about protecting our planet for future generations is beginning to break down. More and more people are pointing to the mountains of evidence that it also benefits business right here and now. While our work is motivated by passion for sustainability, this post is ...
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5 Evidence-Backed Examples of Biophilic Design for Schools

The physical campus has a big impact on the learning outcomes and general wellbeing of students. As concern for climate change and energy costs pushes schools and other education institutions to engage with sustainability, new research is showing the amazing benefits of biophilic design for schools and education. Biophilic (“love of life”) ...
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How Can Design Make Ecotourism Even Better?

Taking holidays is an important part of modern life. Who hasn’t got through a difficult Tuesday afternoon at work by daydreaming about their next getaway? And while the typical package deal of sun, sand and EasyJet is still undoubtably popular, a growing number of holidaymakers are now opting for ecotourism ...
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How to Boost Office Productivity with Biophilic Design

Ensuring your employees are happily working away as they’re supposed to is clearly one of your top priorities. Yet everyone takes time off for illness or personal reasons at some point, and the culture of ‘presenteeism’ means even when people show up for work they may be unproductive due to ...
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rebuild or renovation

Renovate or Rebuild? Creating Your Dream Home

It’s a classic dilemma. You’ve purchased a scrappy run-down property in a fantastic location, with the plan to knock it down and build your dream home, but now you’re wondering if actually a major renovation will do the job. Or, perhaps you’re thinking of your current home, which is in ...
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For a Healthy Home, Choose Natural Paints

Maybe you’ve been inspired by a home makeover TV show. Maybe you haven’t painted for decades and your walls are faded and peeling. Maybe you’re decorating a room for a new arrival to the family. Maybe you’re a DIY enthusiast and regularly repaint your home to keep things fresh. Whatever ...
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Common Causes of Indoor Air Pollution & How to Fight It

We’re all aware of the dangers of air pollution - tending to think of it as a symptom of industrial traffic-clogged cities. Images of hazy urban smog and billowing plumes from factories spring to mind. But in some cases, your house could actually have worse quality air than out on ...
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energy efficiency

Refurbishing for Energy Efficiency? Do These 5 Things First

You know your home’s energy efficiency is not up to scratch and the idea that you’re constantly throwing money down the sink (or more likely out the window) is frustrating to say the least. And who doesn’t like a solution that saves you money while helping the planet? You have ...
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sustainable timber and forestry

13 Ways Sustainable Timber Is The Best Construction Material

Timber has been a popular building material since time immemorial, but with recent shock and concern over global deforestation - 13 million hectares lost per year! - many people are questioning whether they should be using it. The quick answer is yes - as long as it’s from a sustainable ...
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zero carbon homes

Features And Benefits of Zero Carbon Homes

If you’ve heard the term ‘zero carbon homes’ before but you’re unsure what exactly it means, or even what’s so good about them, then this article is for you. Why We Want Zero Carbon Homes There are many reasons why zero carbon homes are an important goal for housing and ...
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Passive Solar: The Low-Tech Way to Heat Your Home

Whether you’re giving your house a new lease of life with a refurb or planning your brand new dream home, getting the most bang for your buck will be a priority. Good design can save you money on your bills, create a healthier indoor environment and also reduce your carbon footprint. This ...
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natural insulation sheep wool

Think Natural Insulation Is More Expensive? Think again!

If you're interested in using natural insulation but you're worried about the cost, this article is for you. Like most people, we've become very familiar with the "ethical premium": if you want the healthier, greener option - you usually have to shell out more. So we were happily surprised when we found out ...
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Why Putting Plants in Classrooms is a Fantastic Idea

We all agree plants are nice to have in the garden and even in the house, but what about plants in classrooms at school? Or at university? Underpinning intuition with a slew of scientific research, the fledgling field of biophilic design is challenging people to reconsider the humble houseplant and ...
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housing bill, council flats

The Housing Bill: More Political Than Practical

In 2016, affordable housing is clearly a national priority. But will the Housing Bill help? According to Shelter, 1.8 million British families are on waiting lists to get council housing, and 41,000 families with children were homeless this Christmas, hopping between different forms of temporary accommodation. In the private rented ...
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