Conceived as an interactive artwork that invites users to consider questions about sustainable living, the Carbon Cube also promotes dialogue about the use of renewable materials in construction. The concept is simple: a huge timber cube – sized at 2.4m x 2.4m x 2.4m – represents the volume of timber you would have to grow to sequester the annual carbon output of the average UK citizen. Accompanying information boards detail the carbon costs associated with a range of activities such as travel, food consumption and use of domestic appliances. Visitors are invited to make a pledge to reduce their own carbon footprint. They are then free to decorate a 'pledge cube' that forms part of a mosaic in timber.
"The idea was to tell a story both about our responsibility as individuals to make choices that are better for the environment and also about the opportunity we have within the industry to drive change. So the Cube has this double message. It's about using renewable materials wherever we can. But it's also about reducing consumption," explains Designer Yanchee Lau, who was one of the team of young engineers who came up with the idea.
Ramboll UK's pioneering use of timber on large-scale projects was a key inspiration for the exhibition. The recently completed Norwich Open Academy, for which Ramboll provided the timber engineering design, currently represents the most ambitious use of cross-laminated timber panelling in the UK. It comprises 3,500 cubic metres of timber sourced from a sustainable forestry scheme in Austria. Other landmark timber projects include the British Geological Survey offices, Cambridge's Faculty of Education and the award-winning St John Fisher School extension.
The Carbon Cube will be housed in NLA's Pocket Park outside the Building Centre on South Crescent, Store Street between June 25 and July 2. Following that there will be a display in the lobby of Ramboll's London office, Newman Street, W1T 3DA
For further information: Yanchee Lau +44 (0)20 7631 5291