Natural local materials

Natural local materials

A unified composition that merges with the landscape.

I can't edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole. Andy Goldsworthy - Land Artist

True to nature

The use of natural materials provides a more sensorial, tactile experience for the user, which reinforces the human connection with nature. Surfaces are to be clean and elegant to enhance their natural beauty, be in service of their function, and work together to form a cohesive palette of muted tones. Colour should be found in the material itself.

Roche Suzhou, China

Sensible use of materials

A careful selection and a logical use of materials confers character to the site and reinforces the landscape.

  • Material changes support site functionality and serve a function; they are not arbitrary.
  • The transition between different materials should occur as a clean joint and where the geometry and use of the surface in which it appears suggests.
  • The materials palette is narrowed to the minimum required to support function and character.
  • A limited range of colours can be incorporated by the materials used, provided that the end result is primarily monochromatic.
  • Patterns embedded in materials for the sake of ornamentation should be avoided.
  • Locally sourced materials strengthen the site’s identity and must be preferred as most sustainable option.


  • Material change responds to site functionality. Avoid creating arbitrary, decorative patterns or symbolic figures.

  • Avoid high contrast colour ranges.

  • Never use low grade materials to replicate or mimic higher grade materials, as shown in this example of stamped concrete.

Key to Natural, local, materials

  • Employ natural materials that are sustainable, durable, locally sourced, and reflect the local character.
  • Use low contrast and muted colour variations to produce a monochromatic overall result.
  • Do not incorporate any discernible stylized patterns or graphic motifs.
  • Limit the materials palette to a minimum, material changes should serve to assist site functionality and must not be arbitrary.