Shellcrete is an on-going project transforming shell wastes from fisheries and seafood restaurants into architectural and landscape materials and features.
The process of transforming sea shells into building materials dates back over a thousand years. It has evolved from communities lacking certain natural resources for construction. For the last 15 years we have studied worldwide the historic examples of these inventive processes. Journal article for more information: Building with shells – historical references
Currently in the UK most sea shell waste from restaurants is taken to landfill. In one year a busy sea food restaurant can get through 50,000 oysters.
The materials and features we have developed are bespoke outcomes to the landscape, people, processes, craft and specific need of a particular place.
In 2018 we were involved in an EU funded architecture and waste project with the University of Brighton and Veolia. Local Works Studio were commissioned to make an external cladding material for buildings using 100% waste materials from the city of Brighton. We sourced oyster shell as waste from 2 restaurants in Brighton and blended this with other local waste materials, creating a palette of self-coloured mortars for casting as weatherproof external tiles: Prototyping waste for building insulation
Local Works Studio are continuing to design and prototype shell materials for use as tiles, plasters, renders, bricks, mortars, paints and other cladding and surface finishes. We are also developing a short film documenting the processes and applications of this material.
Collaborators: Dubbel Creative, English’s Oyster Bar, Riddle and Finns restaurant, Brighton.
Location: Brighton and Essex
Date: 2016 – ongoing