'A low carbon warehouse for the display and restoration of Airstream Caravans.'
The warehouse is a new storage facility in the Borwick Rails industrial site in Millom. The facility will serve the restoration, maintenance and display of an extensive collection of Romany wagons and Airstream caravans. The Warehouse is also an ongoing research project between IDK and Structure Workshop into low-carbon warehouse design. We have undergone extensive workshopping and carbon analysis of the primary structure and cladding of the building to establish, in abstract terms, the lowest carbon design possible within the parameters of the client brief. Cost is also a critical factor. The next phase of our work will be to establish the most deliverable form of structure for the client budget. Navigating the constraints of cost, material supply and labour capacity has opened new avenues of research, such as recycling old structures to create new ones. It has also raised questions over the future of construction more broadly, and our obligations towards the conservation of built mass.
A range of structures of various materials – including lumber, engineered timber and composite glulam-steel – were analysed for their impact on the carbon load of the project. The lowest carbon option was then taken to market for costing. Interestingly (and surprisingly), the version composed of small sections of timber proved the hardest to obtain materials for and and most challenging to construct, knocking out its viability. Extensive research has led us towards steel-frame recycling. This technique is not new – farmers do it all the time. However, it is particularly exciting in that it explores the notion of built-mass as a constant, a store of extant material to keep in supply for as long as possible. Form, in this case, is led by what is available – true reverse engineering.