Built with Carbon

Jessica Raynor

The quest towards ‘sustainability’ is often driven by a narrative of reduction. In reaction to the outsized impact of humankind’s activity on the natural world, we are asked to “lower our footprint” and “minimize our impact.” But why are we focusing on doing less bad? This project investigates through a material lens how we might have a regenerative relationship with the natural world - designing and building products with a positive environmental impact. Through the narrative of the carbon cycle, two products were designing to store - rather than emit - atmospheric carbon through their production.

This project was born out of a material-driven design methodology with biochar as the starting point. Biochar is a charcoal-like material created through a carbon-negative process and can be made from agricultural waste which would otherwise be landfilled. Out of these explorations came two material products: the first is a construction block held together through lime rather than infamously impactful cement while the second is a compostable bioplastic that will enhance the soil as it degrades. 


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