Recyclable opera pavilion made from champagne corks and oyster shells

BakerBrown Studio has designed a garden pavilion for the Glyndebourne Opera House in England, which will use the discarded champagne corks and seafood shells as building materials.


The single storey Glyndebourne Croquet Pavilion overlooks the South Downs from a small plot on a croquet lawn amongst existing yew hedges in the grounds of the house.

The local office BakerBrown Studio design uses the principles of a circular economy and relies on the use of waste materials to minimize the environmental footprint of the building and create a reversible design that can be taken apart and reused.

Pavilion is “material store for the future”

In addition to using discarded champagne corks, wine stoppers, and oyster and lobster shells, the studio will also rescue diseased ash trees and use chalk excavated nearby to create the pavilion.

Each material will be processed in a way that allows for deconstruction, meaning they are screwed into place rather than glued to ensure recyclability and reuse.

“What we’re really interested in is reusing stuff that’s already been produced, because then there’s basically a very negligible carbon footprint,” explains studio founder Duncan Baker-Brown.

Above: the pavilion is covered with cork on the inside. Top image: salvaged ash and local brick used outdoors

“Another big ambition for the pavilion is that it is a material store for the future so it can be disassembled,” he told Dezeen.

“You have to scratch your head a bit to make sure you’re never sticking things together. You’re always screwing things together.”

Salvaged Ashes to Form Structure

The main structure of the Glyndebourne Croquet Pavilion, the windows and doors of the pavilion will be made from locally sourced ash felled as a result of the asdieback disease – a type of fungus that kills the species.

“Many beautiful old ash trees in the UK now have this mold, Ash dieback,” the architect explained. “We chase after the loggers because they cut it down and they shred it as if for biomass, but actually it’s much more valuable than that.”

Externally, bricks will be used as the predominant cladding material, assembled with lime mortar salvaged from piles of chalk left over from previous excavations on the estate.

They will be paired with wall tiles made from the opera house’s waste oyster and lobster shells, which are being made by bio-based materials specialist Biohm.

The process of making the wall tiles involves grinding the shells and combining them with Biohm’s own organic, unnamed binder that gives the material the same properties as concrete or stone.

A visualization of a space for garden events
It will be an event space for visitors to the Glyndebourne

Inside, the Glyndebourne Croquet Pavilion will be clad in plaster, bricks from a local brickyard and cladding made from the estate’s discarded cork of champagne corks and stoppers.

Cork’s renewable, resistant and insulating properties have made it an increasingly popular choice in architecture.

The liner, also made by Biohm, will be made by pounding the waste cork into granules and binding them with mycelium – a biodegradable fungal material.

Mycelium will also be used to grow insulation panels for the building, a process that combines the material with grass clippings.

According to BakerBrown Studio, these mycelium panels will provide the same performance as conventional insulation and be fully compostable at the end of the building’s life.

Materials for the project will be collected during the opera season

The project was commissioned by the owners of the Glyndebourne Opera House, who requested that the building be made sustainable and low-carbon. It follows the construction of an on-site wind turbine that generates more electricity than the busy site needs.

To help minimize the carbon footprint, BakerBrown Studio partnered with engineering firm ElliottWood to assess and reduce the proposal’s embodied carbon using the Structural Carbon Tool – an open-source app to measure construction carbon footprint. to help minimize.

Embodied carbon refers to emissions from the production, construction, maintenance and demolition of buildings, which are currently unregulated in the UK.

The Glyndebourne Croquet Pavilion will begin construction on the site in September 2021 and should be completed by March 2022. The waste material will be collected on site during this season’s opera festival.

The structure will provide an event space for those attending the opera, while also serving as an education and learning facility for local community groups interested in the site.

In 2015, Carmody Groarke designed a pavilion for the Glyndebourne Opera House, which was made of wood and plastic and was designed as a temporary exhibition space.

Before founding his eponymous studio earlier this year, Baker-Brown also used waste materials such as floppy disks and toothbrushes to create a building used as a research facility and design studio for the Faculty of Arts at the University of Brighton.

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