Strawbale homes and buildings are beautiful and personal works of art constructed by hand. The idea of building with strawbale is appealing to many because of its energy efficiency, insulative qualities, and organic nature. But the nitty-gritty of how to build with this alternative material often deters would-be strawbale aficionados. Practical information to guide you on a journey to constructing simply and naturally is hard to come by. But now your search is over.
Strawbale Home Plans is an inspiring and diverse collection of strawbale buildings. It features everything from single-level country homes, to cottages and studios, to community buildings. Thirty-one completed projects are highlighted. You will find helpful lessons in the homeowners' descriptions of their experiences with strawbale building as well as in the authors' explorations of the special features of each strawbale structure. Each project includes a plan drawing that provides inspiration for those who want to take their strawbale idea from conception to completion.
If you were waiting to start building your strawbale dream home or other alternative structure until you found just the right resource, the time has come to break out the bales and the hand tools. Professional builders and do-it-yourselfers will find tips and tricks from strawbalers-in-the-know in this essential handbook to successful baling with heart and soul.
Wayne J. Bingham and Colleen F. Smith, a husband-and-wife team, have been involved since 1998 in strawbale design and building. Their interest is an outgrowth of an exploration of energy efficiency and sustainable building techniques. In the mid-1990s, they attended several American Institute of Architects green-building conferences, where they began to understand the need for finding new ways to build that do not endanger the earth and its resources.
Seeking a direction of their own, they went on a natural-building odyssey to the Southwest to evaluate cob, adobe, rammed-earth, earthship, and strawbale buildings. They considered thermal performance, beauty, feel, and construction techniques and concluded that strawbale building held the greatest potential.
Wayne and Colleen attended Bill and Athena Steen's Canelo Project strawbale and earthen plaster workshops and developed a love affair with these materials that has not abated. Wayne immediately plastered the concrete-block garden wall in their backyard with earthen plaster. They returned to the Steens in 1999 to spend a year involved with workshops, construction, and collaboration with Bill and Athena on the development and production of Small Strawbale: Natural Homes, Projects & Designs (2005, Gibbs Smith, Publisher).
Avid photographers and travelers, Wayne and Colleen have searched out and documented indigenous buildings in the United States, Greece, Great Britain, and Italy and have developed a large library of images that laid the groundwork for Strawbale Home Plans. They took additional trips to explore and further record specific strawbale buildings that now constitute this book.
In addition to Wayne's working with owners and builders on natural timber frame strawbale home designs and conducting workshops, the couple has put their experience into building a timber frame strawbale home of their own in Teton Valley, Idaho.show more