Architecture must do more to propose creative alternatives to normative practices of building material extraction. Recently, architects and engineers from around the world have begun experimenting with load-bearing stone architecture, deeply driven by a sustainability agenda. At the same time, interest is growing in pre-capitalist and indigenous relations with the landscape, where materials were often extracted in a direct relationship with the local building culture. These developments create an opportunity to confront the question of extraction with one of architecture’s most exploited materials: natural stone.
The complexity of the problem, from quarry landscape to building design, demands a multi- disciplinary approach. Ecologies of Stone aims to establish project cases, histories and research groups across design disciplines, sciences and humanities. It furthermore engages with industry partners in quarry practices and building engineering to ensure a vital link with current developments in applied methods. Our common goal is to examine the entirety of stone extraction as an inter-connected, cyclical process, from the quarry, to building design, and back to quarry rehabilitation. Moving away from large-scale, intensive quarrying, we investigate natural stone in architecture as an ecology, one that takes as much care for what is taken as is left behind.