From Field to Form: An Introduction to Building with Plants and Earth

Six leading architects and researchers discuss the possibilities and implications of designing with plant- and earth-based materials.

March 13, 2023

Recorded on February 15, 2023.

From Field to Form is a series of events exploring the possibilities, life cycles, and architectural implications of plant- and earth-based materials.

Plant- and earth-based materials present an opportunity to reinvent what and how we build. From biogenic materials like straw, hemp, and bamboo to geogenic materials like mud and stone, the translation of renewable resources into building materials presents both design opportunities and logistical challenges.

These materials can significantly reduce buildings’ embodied carbon while eliminating the toxicity of petrochemical products. More generally, they hold the potential to expand the agency of architecture from field to form and back again.

This video begins with a presentation by David J. Lewis, Paul Lewis, and Marc Tsurumaki on the architectural implications of biogenic and geogenic materials. Following their presentation, Lola Ben-Alon, Mae-ling Lokko, and Jonsara Ruth each offer reflections on their material research into earth, agro-waste, and HempLime, respectively. 

The program concludes with a roundtable discussion and audience Q&A that addresses the bottlenecks that must be dealt with if there is to be a wider implementation of plant- and earth-based materials.