Structural Stone Renaissance Workshop/

Organiser: UCL - University College London

Event Detail



15 July, 2024


UCL - University College London


United Kingdom




View info

Taking place at the Building Crafts College in East London, this short course provides hands-on experience in structural stone construction through designing, cutting and assembling structural stone.


Since the start of civilisation, stone has been one of the fundamental forms of construction and today it is re-emerging as a structural material in architecture. The reasons for this are multifaceted, encompassing environmental sustainability, aesthetics, recent developments in technologies, methodologies and workflows, and broader regional social and cultural practices and histories.

During this practical short course, you will be working with Bath Stone, a highly regarded English limestone that is relatively soft and easy to cut. It is used in the peerless Royal Crescent and many other buildings in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Bath.

This short course builds upon cutting-edge research from within UCL and industry. You will be led by international experts who will offer you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the design, shaping and assembly of structural stone, working in small teams to create an original stone structure across the week. This will involve:

  • Introductory talks and demonstrations on stone character and sourcing, principles of designing with stone, stereotomy and assembly. Digital design methods and post-tensioned stone structures will also be introduced.
  • Designing the stone structure, with considerations including individual block geometries, assembly, and assuring the structures stability in advance.
  • Preparing the necessary fabrication documents to make the structure, including block cutting panels, simple execution plans and details of falsework (temporary wooden support structure).
  • Cutting the soft limestone blocks using simple hand tools, including hammer and chisels and saws. Fabricating the falsework.
  • Assembling the structure and removing the falsework, then evaluating it.

Image Credits: Stone workshop images are of EnsaV workshop involving the Compagnons and ANR Resources under the direction of Amaco. Stone mine and yard images are of Hartham Park.

Key Information

Date & Fees 

5 days: 15 July – 19 July 2024
Mon – Fri: 9.30 – 16:00

A brief outline of the structure over the course of this week can be found below:

  • Monday – Introductory talks and demonstrations, stone design
  • Tuesday – Demonstrations, stone design and preparing documentation
  • Wednesday – Stone setting out and cutting
  • Thursday – Stone cutting, fabricating falsework
  • Friday – Assembling the stone structure and evaluation

There will be an optional visit to UCL East or UCL Here East on one afternoon after the daily programme finishes, details TBC.

Fee: £500

Who should apply?

This course is open to students, professionals, academics, and members of the public with an interest in structural stone. Due to the intermediate nature of this course, we can only accept participants aged 18 years old or over at the start of the course. Participants travelling from abroad should check if they need to apply for a visa and are responsible for securing any visas that may be required.

Please note that the fee and registration onto this course does not include accommodation. All participants must arrange their own accommodation. As participants of this course are over 18 years of age, you have the option to book UCL Summer Residencies which offers Central London Accommodation for the general public.

How will I be taught?  

The workshop will be delivered within the specialist stonemasonry workshops of the Building Crafts College (BCC), Kennard Road, London, E15 1AH.

This course will be delivered through a combination of talks, demonstrations, and practical workshop exercises. It will be led by a combination of UCL academics, Building Crafts College staff, stonemasonry experts, and industry specialists. The course delivery team is as follows:

  • Klaas De Rycke, Associate Professor, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL & Managing Partner, Bollinger + Grohmann, Paris
  • Oliver Wilton, Director of Design Technology and Associate Professor of Environmental Design, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
  • Paul Vergonjeanne, stonemasonry expert, Architecture School of Paris-Malaquais, PSL
  • Paul Nougayrede, digital stone design expert, Architecture School of Paris-Malaquais, PSL
  • Nancy Peskett, Adeline Wartner and Nigel Gilkison, stonemasonry teaching team, Building Crafts College
  • The Stonemasonry Company, contributing post-tensioned stone expertise
  • Lovell Stone Group, contributing quarrying expertise and Hartham Park Bath Stone

Due to the practical nature of this course, all participants will be required to wear steel toe capped safety boots or shoes (which are readily available to purchase from around £20 upwards) each day. Other safety equipment will be provided. Participants must also wear practical, robust clothing, that will get dusty when stone cutting. If you have a laptop that can operate Rhinoceros 3D then you may wish to bring it along to get first-hand experience of using it with tailored plug-ins for digital design of structural stone. We will also have computers that we will use to demonstrate these tools. Basic drawing materials for sketch prototyping will be provided.


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