Research

The University of Lincoln, together with the University of Sheffield and the East Midland Earth Structure Society (EMESS), is conducting initial research which is a stepping stone for further research projects. This first step shall primarily constitute a qualitative analysis and should indicate the direction for future experimental research.

Over many years ago, Rodney Cousins and EMESS (East Midland Earth Structure Society) conducted a survey into Lincolnshire’s unique vernacular architecture known as ‘Lincolnshire Mud & Stud’. It has been identified that only a few hundred houses built in this technique remain. Identified also was the need to establish a much deeper understanding of this architecture.

 

The phenomenon of ‘Lincolnshire Mud and Stud’ (M&S) construction as much as the movement associated with it poses a series of research questions.

  • What is the historical role and nature of this tradition?
  • What role could it play in current and future architectural developments?
  • What are the real objective qualities and values of M&S buildings?
  • Could those traditional buildings be adapted to meet current building regulations?
  • Can traditional building methods be sensibly modified to meet current standards,                 requirements and expectations?
  • What are the values, attitudes and opinions of people living in M&S buildings?
  • What are the opinions and values of those who promote that type of architecture?

 

2.1 Aims and Phases of the Research

The aim of this research is to identify the qualities, potential, defects and problems related to Lincolnshire Mud and Stud. We are attempting also to understand the culture and tradition which developed in connection with this type of housing as well as establish the lessons that can be drawn from studyingsuch an architectural tradition.

The research will be conducted in different stages. During the first phase, we shallcontact as many inhabitants as possible and obtain information, through the use of targeted questionnaires,on their attitudes and perceptions as well as the qualities and properties of M&S buildings.

During the second phase,we shall visit several traditional M&S buildings in order to conduct more extensive interviews with inhabitants and investigate, through an empirical study, the physical properties of these buildings (u-value, humidity, temperature and cold bridging).

This stage will enable us to commence the third phase of research, which shall consist of experiments involving the erection of a test building where M&S and its modifications can be analysed. In a broader perspective, the proposed research aims to create a basis for the development of natural, sustainable and healthy architecture using unprocessed loam and straw in a modern context and format.

 

2.2 Research Conducted So Far.

For many years, the historical and constructional values of vernacular architecture have been of central interest to an informal group of enthusiasts called East Midland Earth Structure Society (EMESS). In 1984, the book “Lincolnshire Buildings in the Mud and Stud Tradition” by Rodney Cousin was publishedwhich identified a trend towards the disappearance of this architectural tradition and style. In two conference papers, David Glew presented and discussed the possible modifications to M&S in view of adaptation to modern requirements.

Unfortunately, no publications in academic peer-reviewed journals have been published on this subject whilst no academic research has been conducted that would collect and analyse data, and the experiences of inhabitants of those buildings. Modern equipment that has recently been acquired by theUniversity of Lincoln, School of Architecture offers such an opportunity.

 

2.3 Ethical Statement

Interviews, investigation and data collection will be conducted in private homes. It must be ensured therefore that the privacy of the interviewees and their comfort is secured. They must be also be made well aware of the nature of the research and be able to opt out from the investigation at any moment.

The purpose of this research is to thoroughly investigate and understand the properties of Lincolnshire Mud andStud (M&S) architecture. In this capacity, analysis shall be conducted on the manner of living related to this type of architecture, opinions and attitudes of the inhabitants and the culture associated with those buildings.

All researchers are obliged to comply with the highest standards of personal and organisational integrity and respect for the individual. The researchers shall be guided in all their activities by truth, accuracy, fairness and respect. They are also obliged to avoid the use of false, confusing, inaccurate, or misleading statements and interpretations.

Interviews will take place in the occupants own homes so they may relate to physical aspects of the buildings they inhabit during the interview. Prior to each interview, interviewees shall be contacted to explain research procedure. All interviewees shall be supplied also with a written outline of these procedures including the interview and overall research procedure and shall be clearly informed of the aims and objectives of the research and the manner in which data will be published. Data collected during this phase shall be analysed and stored securely at the University of Lincoln and University of Sheffield.

Written permission shall be sought before investigation commences whilst all data and information collected throughout the research procedure shall be done so for the purpose of conducting research and will not be shared with any third parties.Interviewees will not be named unless their permission has been explicitly sought in cases essential for the pursuit of the research in question whilst any data, information or quotations published shall remain anonymous. Any recorded contribution in any form from each interview by the interviewer shall be used in accordance with the wishes of the interviewee.

Finally, all researchers will be obliged to recognise that the research is to be conducted to the best of their ability in order to produce the highest possible quality of output.

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