Over the past few weeks the studio has been involved in researching and selecting stone for a new building in the Surrey woodlands. With visits to Albion Quarry looking at varieties of Portland Stone and Totternhoe Clunch Quarry to see the extraction of English Clunch, we became engrossed in the setting, their processes, scale, and the machines and equipment used for the extraction and refinement of the stone.

The use of stone presents a sustainable material and method of construction. As part of our ambition for a more sustainable architecture, is our philosophy to boldly incorporate material choices that are sensitive to the environment. The quarry visits allowed us to gain genuine knowledge and insights into the astonishing geological history and formation of the stone, their structural compositions, the extraction and refinement processes and the operation of the machinery on site.

Descending into the subterranean tunnels at Albion Stone Quarry, we saw how the structures and grain of the Portland Stone varied with the depth, resulting in varieties of finely grained to fossilised structures – each completely irreplicably unique as the next. It is incredible to think that the Portland Stone quarried here was deposited many millions of years ago, containing fragments of fossilised sea creatures when the UK was situated in a sub-tropical latitude!