We research, develop and certify sustainable, innovative, robust, construction systems which dramatically lower embodied emissions, reduce construction waste and resource consumption, create low-tech, gender-neutral work opportunities and restore natural ecosystems in the process.

Pic above: Andrew Lord and Stephen Lamb – Co-Founders of nonCrete Pty (Ltd)

We achieve this by researching, developing and implementing the use of low-carbon building materials, bespoke material mix-designs and appropriate design practices through local and international collaborations within the private, academic and government sectors.

By bringing together like-minded people and organisations around the world, we aim to create and promote interdisciplinary partnerships and collaborations that further these objectives within the engineering, architectural, sustainable design and construction sectors.

Who we are

The work of nonCrete is led by Stephen Lamb and Andrew Lord – designers and environmental activists who have worked in the sustainable construction, design, art, engineering and architectural sectors for the last 24 years.

Their work focuses on the research, development and use of sustainable, alternative, robust, low-cement building materials and restorative, resource efficient, low-tech, socially inclusive building systems.

Emphasis is placed on maximizing opportunities for local, gender-neutral job creation, skills development and training, the creation of low-tech building systems, carbon sequestration in the built environment and the restoration of natural eco-systems.

Stephen and Andrew have received several acclaimed awards for their work and have presented their work both locally and internationally.

Their work experience

Stephen and Andrew’s work experience includes being invited to build the entrance pavilions for the Shanghai Biennale in China (2012)  the Seventeenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa (2011) and the Cape Town Climate Smart Campaign Pavilion at the FIFA World Cup (2010)

During this time they also focused on leading the design and construction of the Table Mountain – Hoerikwaggo Hiking Trail, the design and building of innovative vertical food security systems in informal settlements with the building of the Gege Creche in Langa and the Green Shack at the Design Indaba, Cape Town International Conference Centre.

In 2014 Stephen and Andrew collaborated with Khoi-San Activist Mr !Xoma Ayob and co-designed and built the “Light House” in Hangberg, Cape Town.

Following the success of this project,  they were recruited into the South African Government in 2015 and lead the research and development of the Light House Program, an Expanded Public Works Program funded by the South African National  Government. The program explored and developed regenerative building technologies and construction methods using alternative bio-based aggregates and binders.

Prior to co-founding nonCrete with Andrew Lord in 2020, Stephen studied at ETH Zurich with the Chair of Sustainable Construction in D-BAUG as an invited visiting student while writing his masters thesis.

During this time Stephen and Andrew also co-authored the academic paper: “Invasive alien plants as an alternative resource for concrete production – multi-scale optimization including carbon compensation, cleared land and saved water runoff in South Africa”, published in the scientific journal “Resources, Conservation & Recycling”

Stephen was invited to present his work to the 6th International LafargeHolcim Forum for Sustainable Construction “Re-materializing Construction” in Cairo in 2019 and later that year to The 3rd International Conference on National Urban Policy (United Nations Habitat) in Nairobi. In 2019 he was offered a full-time position at the Block Research Group (part of the Department of Innovation and Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich) as research associate for two years (2019 – 2021).

During this time Stephen and Andrew were invited to present their work at the Venice Architectural Biennale (2021) funded by and in partnership with the Block Research Group, ETH Zurich.

They currently focus on demonstrating locally certified, circular and restorative building practices which restore the natural environment and maximise opportunities for low-tech, labour-intensive work opportunities through the free sharing of intellectual property.

Their work is currently funded by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), The Block Research Group, the Chair of Sustainable Construction, ETH Zurich, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Nedbank Green Trust.

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