Julia & Julian Kashdan-Brown EXTRACTION

Extract too much, and the system will collapse!


Extraction “is a direct physical representation of the demand for timber across the world and how uncontrolled and unmanaged extraction of this timber will result in over-depletion of this valuable resource. The fragility of the final piece illustrates consequent worldwide environmental instability”.


The Sapele column, with horizontal holes drilled through its heart, will represent the demand on the natural resources of timber by countries around the world. Further underpining the design ideology, highlights the need for reforestation, afforestation and a drastic reduction in deforestation, if we want to avoid ‘collapse’.

Julia and Julian Kashdan-Brown of Kashdan-Brown Architects – the designers of Extraction – are a small architectural practice believing in “creating contextually responsive and sustainable contemporary architecture, which forms its inherent character from the materials used and the way the detail emerges”.


In conversation with the Kashdan-Brown’s – read their sustainability inspirations and design idea here


Photograph credit: Chris Jackson / Building Centre

Extraction: Extract too much, and the system will collapse!

The issue

Resource extraction is the process of withdrawing materials from the natural environment, accounting for around half of the world’s carbon emissions and 80% of biodiversity loss (UN). Today, resources are being extracted three times faster than in 1970, with the population only having doubled during that time (Global Resources Outlook). Growing by 3.2% per year, the world consumes more than 92b tonnes of materials.


Resource extraction and trading accounts for the vast majority of global economic growth, however since environmental conscious has grown since the 2000’s begun, resources have become more expensive to extract due to diminishing rates of return and environmental implications have become harder to ignore.


It is essential to decouple economic growth from material consumption and resource extraction. Without change, resource demand will more than double to 190 billion tonnes a year, greenhouse gas emissions can be predicted to rise by 40% and demand for land by 20% (Global Resources Outlook).


The role of forests

Wood is the only truly sustainable and renewable building material. By choosing to build with sustainable timber, businesses are helping to preserve and grow the world’s forests, and combat climate change.


Trees absorbs carbon dioxide while they grow, turning carbon into wood and emitting oxygen. This carbon is stored in wood until it is released either by natural causes or through combustion. For every tree harvested, many more are then planted in it’s place. Research has shown these kinds of managed forests have the ability to absorb much more carbon dioxide in the long term compared to unmanaged forests.


Together with the preservation of ancient forests, these managed forests are also able to support the biodiversity of the planet, with planting guidelines setting aside as much as 15% for ‘natural’ forest. Around the world this has lead to some incredible success stories. One of the most significant is the preservation of the gorillas in the Congo by the actions of Interholco, who provide a livelihood, and place a value on the forest, to prevent deforestation.


The EU FLEGT Action Plan

The EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan helps combat illegal logging and deforestation. Without proper governance and sustainable forest management in place, there will inevitably be overexploitation of resources. Maintaining balance between harvesting and regrowth is essential in all forests. ­­­


The reforms outlined in each country’s FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement commit them to a legal, enforceable management framework. Without these laws in place ­and wider sustainable forest management from all commodity supply chains, forests will continue to face many threats to their existence.


It is essential for the future of our planet’s health that we balance the demand for materials, food and commodities with the need to keep these incredible habitats standing. This exhibition was formulated to convey the message that timber harvesting from sustainable forest management sources, will actually keep the forests standing – providing governance and legal reforms are in place.

TTF Member

Timber supplied through the James Laham.
With over 260 years of expertise and innovation, they are a pillar of example to the industry of sustainable products in line with social, environmental and economic criteria.

(More information on their Commitment to Sustainability can be found by clicking on this picture again) 

Tropical Hardwood

The Extraction column is made from Sapele. 

VPA Country

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Timber has been sourced from the DROC - currently in the negotiating status of their Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU/UK. The Congo Basin is one of the most important wilderness areas on Earth, the potential for FLEGT success is large.