A long stone plank stands on Store Street in central London, raised on triangular wooden props, giving it the look of a medieval battering ram, ready to lay siege to Tottenham Court Road. This great masonry beam means no harm to the shoppers – but it could well prove to be disruptive in another way. The slab in question is a prototype chunk of a structural stone floor, an impressively slender thing, 12 metres long and just a few centimetres thick. Cut straight from the quarry and transported to site ready to install, such a floor has a carbon footprint of just 15% of a standard concrete floor – and it’s cheaper, lighter and faster to install. “Stone,” says architect Amin Taha , “is the great forgotten material of our time. In 99% of cases, it’s cheaper and greener to use stone in a structural way, as opposed to concrete or steel, but we mostly just think of using it for cladding.” Taha is on a mission to show the potential of stone beyond decoration. Together with stonemason Pierre Bidaud and engineer Steve Webb, he has curated an exhibition at the Building Centre that aims to reveal how this […]

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