straw-bale-houses

Though straw walls might be most readily linked to a story of pigs making questionable construction choices, the team behind these homes says the material could help to sustainably meet housing demand.

The homes are the result of an engineering research project led by the University of Bath.

The researchers worked with specialist architectural firm Modcell.

The team says this development should move building with straw from a niche technique for the ecologically minded to the wider market.

The houses, on a street of traditional brick-built homes in Bristol, are clad in brick to fit in with the surroundings. But their prefabricated walls are timber framed, filled with straw bales and encased in wooden boards.

Prof Pete Walker from the University of Bath, who led the project to develop and test this construction method, told BBC News: “I think there’s a lot of misconception about using straw - stories about the three little pigs and the big bad wolf, concerns about fire resistance.”

As part of this EU-funded project, Prof Walker and his colleagues have systematically tested and refined the technology - including testing its structural and weight-bearing properties, and its thermal insulation.

“Our testing over a number of years, and our research has demonstrated that it is a robust and safe form of construction.”

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One of the straw bale homes at Friland in Denmark with a green roof. More natural homes to see on their website at www.dr.dk/DR2/Friland/ (in Danish). Our thanks to by Karen Eliot for this photo.

This is Ziggy’s house at Dancing Rabbit ecoVilage. Ziggy grows strawberries on his roof. Find out more about Ziggy’s green roof here: www.small-scale.net/yearofmud/2010/08/21/the-one-year-report-life-in-a-cob-house/ Ziggy has written a book too www.naturalhomes.org/book-cob.htm#the-year-of-mud  —                                                                   

The Faerie House green roof on a clay and lime plastered straw bale house. Lots of pictures about this magical place at www.faeriehouse.tithefarm.biz  —  

This little cob cottage, hiding in the Canadian woods, is as much a work of art as it is a home. Sunlight peeps in to the cottage through recycled car windshields, bottles and a recycled skylight and at night candles provide pools of light around a wood stove. It’s one of the homes built by the Mud Girls [www.mudgirls.ca] who you can see here sitting on the green roof. You can see the cottage in candle light if you follow this link. The pictures are about two thirds of the way down the page: www.mudgirls.ca/Site/blog.html  

This is a home built by Kirsten Klibo in Torup ecoVillage [www.torup-by.dk] in Denmark. She described wanting a home that, “was able to breath had soft shapes and was built with 100% natural materials”. It’s an untypical design with interior cob walls wrapped with exterior straw bales. More pictures in the future from this beautiful place.

What is it that makes this building so attractive? Possibly the climbing plants around the door and its connection to the earth [See patterns No.246 and No.168www.naturalhomes.org/fbr.pattern]. This straw bale garden room in East Meredith, NY, USA was built by Sita Sanders as a college project. Sita was straw bale builder Clark Sanders’ [www.clarksandersdesignbuild.com] partner.


I WANT TO BUILD ONE
More Straw Bale Building: A Complete Guide to Designing and Building with Straw

More Straw Bale Building: A Complete Guide to Designing and Building with Straw
Straw bale houses are easy to build, affordable, super energy efficient, environmentally friendly, attractive, and can be designed to match the builder’s personal space needs, esthetics and budget. Despite mushrooming interest in the technique, however, most straw bale books focus on “selling” the dream of straw bale building, but don’t adequately address the most critical issues faced by bale house builders. Moreover, since many developments in this field are recent, few books are completely up to date with the latest techniques. More Straw Bale Building is designed to fill this gap. A completely rewritten edition of the 20,000-copy best–selling original, it leads the potential builder through the entire process of building a bale structure, tackling all the practical issues: finding and choosing bales; developing sound building plans; roofing; electrical, plumbing, and heating systems; building code compliance; and special concerns for builders in northern climates. New material includes: more extensive sections on electric wiring and plumbingupdated sections on bale finishes and finishinga section on prefabricated straw bale wallsa wider selection of case studies, photographs and illustrationsa section on common mistakesbudgeting for low-, medium- and high-cost projects, and new testing data that is in no other straw bale book. Down-to earth and complete, More Straw Bale Building makes the remarkable benefits of straw bale building available in the most comprehensive and practical book on the subject to date. Chris Magwood and Peter Mack are professional straw bale house builders and consultants who have constructed over 40 straw bale structures and have taught workshops and seminars in several countries. Chris is editor of The Last Straw Journal, an international quarterly devoted to straw-bale building, and the coauthor of Straw Bale Details: A Manual for Designers and Builders (New Society Publishers, 2003). More Straw Bаlе Būìld¡nɡ: A Cοmpletе Gūìdё t0 Dеsiɡn¡ng αnd Bµíld¡nɡ with Strαw

faux stone exterior??

So I’ve been thinking about a straw bale house,but not liking the adobe look—

Is it possible to make a faux stone finish with the adobe/mud on the exterior walls? I’ve heard you can add pigment to the clay (so it could be colored to look like native stone), but could you also carve/press stone patterns into the side of the outer walls?

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Necessity to hire an architect?

My husband and I have been saving to build a straw bale house. We are wondering if it is an absolute necessity to hire an architect to make blueprints of the home we have sketched out. We have planned a simple 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom with a very large kitchen; non-loadbearing with a hip roof. We have saved some money for our home project, and prefer to NOT have a mortgage. My concern is that hiring an architect will use a large portion of our savings, forcing us to wait even longer to begin our build while we save more to cover this cost. We have built an awesome greenhouse using only sketches, but we realize a home is a totally different build!


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