Exploration Architecture


Climate Emergency Response

Architects Declare was jointly initiated by Michael Pawlyn and Steve Tompkins and subsequently launched by the 17 UK winners of the Stirling Prize. After the initial success, the initiative was expanded to ‘Construction Declares a Climate & Biodiversity Emergency’ to include other disciplines. Over 4,500 companies worldwide have now signed up to an 11-point declaration. The way that Exploration Architecture is living up to its declaration is described below:

Raising awareness and sharing knowledge

Since Exploration was established in 2007, Michael Pawlyn has given over 300 lectures and keynotes. He has also written two editions of Biomimicry in Architecture  which condenses a large body of knowledge in an easily readable form. The book has been translated into Arabic, French and Korean.

Advocating for faster change

In addition to regular public speaking and writing about the climate and biodiversity emergency, Michael Pawlyn advises a number of large companies and is a member of the International Panel of Experts’ advising the Government of Singapore on future policies. Michael Pawlyn is now working on a new book (co-authored with Sarah Ichioka) about the need for paradigm shifts in the design of the built environment.

Regenerative design

Both through our projects such as The Sahara Forest Project, and through writing and speaking, Exploration has become renowned for regenerative design. It is clear that conventional sustainability is not enough and we need to strive for a positive impact in all our work.

Upgrading existing buildings

Exploration is consciously shifting its portfolio of projects towards the upgrading of existing buildings. The company is currently engaged in a major refurbishment of a Grade II Listed Building in North London.

Operational carbon

Since its inception, Exploration has developed ground-breaking low energy projects including a zero carbon & zero waste textiles factory, an ultra-low energy data centre and The Biomimetic Office which is predicted to be one of the lowest energy office buildings in the world.

Low embodied carbon materials

Our work in biomimicry helps to highlight radical new approaches to low embodied carbon materials. In the exhibition ‘Future Knowledge’ at Modern Art Oxford we displayed a prototype structure 3D-printed from biologically derived raw material and inspired by tree and bone growth patterns: the result was a beautiful, efficient structure made from atmospheric carbon.

Minimising waste

Exploration has had a long involvement with The Ellen MacArthur Foundation in developing and advocating solutions for the circular economy. Michael Pawlyn wrote a chapter in their second publication A New Dynamic 2  about Exploration’s Zero Waste Textile Factory.

Measures of success

As a member of the Architects Declare Steering Group, Michael Pawlyn has played an active role in lobbying for industry awards criteria to encourage bolder responses to the climate and biodiversity emergency. We are in the process of establishing internal measures of success to ensure that our work is aligned with the twin emergencies.