House Made by Many Hands

House Made by Many Hands


Hackney, 2024

Environmental Leadership Prize


Working against the grain and thinking outside the conventional steel and stud wall box, Cairn pioneered the use of a new low-carbon concrete in a house renovation and extension in Hackney. House Made by Many Hands is the first building structure in the UK to specify low-carbon LC3 concrete, together with a hardwood frame in place of traditional steel, natural materials throughout and a rigorous policy of reuse and recycling for the interior.

Commissioned by an environmentally conscious client, who joined in with hand-casting the hempcrete walls, the compact home demonstrates how a house can enhanced as a framework for contemporary living with a substantially reduced environmental impact: 40% lower than a typical build deploying conventional concrete, steel frame box and plasterboard.

“Working with Cairn to renovate our home has been an exciting process. From exploring unusual low-carbon materials to experimenting with the layout and uses of different spaces in the house, they have embraced the creativity of making our home lighter, roomier, more functional and more beautiful, whilst remaining true to our values. Every morning when I come downstairs the kitchen puts a smile on my face.”