In Conversation with Julia and Julian Kashdan-Brown

In conversation with Julia and Julian Kashdan-Brown


Julia and Julian Kashdan-Brown, designer of ‘Extraction’ – striking model of resource extraction  – talks to the Timber Trade Federation about their design ideology behind this project. 

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

The design concept behind Extraction will strike immediate response and internal conversation from viewers – demonstrating the precariousness of increase unsustainable resource extraction and exploitation.

More information on the EXTRACTION design can be found here

With an internal architectural belief and response towards responsible and sustainable architecture & concern over demonstrating material character, the Kashdan-Brown’s were perfectly suited to the brief. Describing their first impressions of Conversations about Climate Change as “a very open brief which allowed a wide range of possibilities – reflected in the very different entries selected as the six winners”.

The Conversations about Climate Change brief – which set architects, designers and craftspeople the challenge of creating ‘conversation pieces’ from responsibly sourced tropical timber – was left intentionally broad. Our intention was for designs to foster different internal conversations which could be explicitly portray a range of climate issues, while provoking dialogue around material provenance and specification of resources.

Obtaining the opportunity to converse with the Kashdan-Brown’s, I wished to understand their perceptions towards timber legality, sustainability and background knowledge of FLEGT [Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade]. “Before this project we would try to specify FSC certified timber in construction projects but this was not always supported and difficult to control. We were not quite aware of what FLEGT was”. Prior knowledge of FLEGT – the EU’s Action Plan to eradicate illegal logging in tropical countries – is low across the most of our target audience.

Describing their work as “contextual contemporary” the Kashdan-Brown’s aim to embrace the “freedoms from historical styles that the modern movement and construction techniques have allowed, we seek to respond to the specific context of sites and local materials”. From inspirations of “simplicity and restraint of many celebrated European Architects from the past half a century, from Utzon and Lewerentz to Zumthor and Chipperfield”.

Conversations about Climate Change has been curated to educate specifiers, designers, architects and buyers of the merits of the FLEGT Action Plan, encouraging engagement and specification into procurement policies. We are pleased that all winning designers are now familiar with FLEGT and have researched further into strengthening their understanding. An assumption that “all importer timber to the UK was legal” is common beyond Kashdan-Brown, which is what the project tries to build upon – challenging misconceptions and educating.

Kashdan-Brown’s proposal ‘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”.

Conversation around resource extraction, deforestation and additional environmental issues relating to climate change will be generated through the Conversations about Climate Change exhibition and event series which can be viewed here.


Further materials, photographs and videos of Julia and Julian’s journey can be found on the EXTRACTION page here
View the Extraction design and the virtual Conversations about Climate Change Exhibition here.