Discover City Cortex

The large urban centres of the Earth are increasingly populated, dysfunctional and unsustainable – it is urgent to adapt them to the increasing challenges of contemporary life. Apart from ongoing concerns relating to the safety, mobility, comfort, wellbeing and happiness of inhabitants, it is essential to calculate the environmental impact of these highly active and populated hubs. Choosing adequate materials for the several infrastructures that grow in these cities is a major part of the restructuring process.

Cork is a natural, renewable and biodegradable raw material that can be used in several contexts due to its unique set of features. From thermal and acoustic insulation to impermeability and elasticity, there are many advantages associated with the outer layer of the cork oak tree, which makes it a great option for various architecture, engineering and design applications.

In the scope of the City Cortex programme, five internationally renowned studios are now creating urban equipment destined to be enjoyed by the citizens of New York, using Portuguese cork as the main material. Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Gabriel Calatrava, Leong Leong, Sagmeister & Walsh and Philippe Starck are currently structuring solutions to improve the city’s sustainability and experience, actively contributing towards increasing quality of life and promoting the happiness of its citizens. They will represent innovative examples of how an entirely natural and sustainable material can be the source of practical solutions for problems that have originated from the inordinate development of our species.

City Cortex is a research and development programme promoted by Corticeira Amorim and curated by experimentadesign, focussing on the intersection between urban contexts in the 21st Century and a natural, highly versatile and sustainable material: cork. The invited studios’ creations will be revealed during the first semester of 2020.