Straw Bale Homes Around the World and the people that built them...

 
   
 
 

Straw bale homes are ideal for cold climates, wet or dry. A three-string straw bale laid flat has an R-Value of 33.

 
 

For a very thorough overview on straw bale building we recommend the book, 'The Natural Building Companion' and you will find a good online introduction to straw bale building from Sigi Koko (below).

     
 
 
 
         
   
 

USA

 

It would be difficult to find another cottage with better sustainable credentials than Lotus Cottage in West Virginia, USA. It was built by natural builder and architect Sigi Koko. The cottage has a rubble trench foundation with exterior straw bale walls plastered with lime outside and clay inside. You can see interior pictures of the straw bale house on Sigi's facebook page.

 
 
   
 
   

   
         
   
 

Italy

 

This was the first straw bale house built in Italy. It's a timber frame infill with clay plasters on the inside and lime plaster on the exterior and earthen floors. It was built in 2006 by Stefano Soldati with the help of British straw bale builders Barbara Jones of Straw Works and Bee Rowan of Straw Build. You can see this home and other straw bale houses on the Natural Homes Map.

 
 
     
 
   

   
         
   
 

Poland

 

This is a straw bale home built by natural building architect Paulina. The cosy cottage is near Warsaw in Poland. In the winter the wood burning stove warms up the house in just a few hours. The walls are plastered in clay using wheat gluten as a final binding agent for the last coat. In the spring the living roof bursts into life. It's a truly beautiful place to be all year round.

 
 
   
 
   

   
         
   
 
 

Wales

 

It took a little over a year to build with a reciprocal green roof and lime plastered straw bale walls. All in all it cost about £15,000 ($23,000). Watch this short video from film makers Living in the Future where Charlie, who built the home, tells his story.

 
 
       
 
   

 
   
 
 
         
   
 

Ireland

 

This is The Spiral House in County Mayo, Ireland. It was built in 2003 by Barbara Jones. It was Europe’s first two-storey load bearing straw bale house shortly followed by another project Barbara helped with, the UK's first two-storey straw bale home. The Spiral House took its inspiration from the shape of an abalone shell. It was built by over 100 volunteers, 80% of them women.

The house features in Barbara's book 'Building with Straw Bales', see far right.
 
 
   
 
   

   
         
   
 
 

Australia

 

John and Susan Glassford run Huff 'n' Puff Strawbale Constructions. Their home is a collection of seven buildings connected by paths. Each of them is clay plastered and insulated in the roof with wool at less than $1/kg. John and Susan use as many reclaimed materials as they can. Below is a video tour of their beautiful straw bale hamlet.

 
 
       
 
   

 
   
 
 
         
   
 

Switzerland

 

Lisa and Louis took 250 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and locked it into the walls of their straw bale guesthouse in the beautiful alpine valley of Val d'Herens in Switzerland. The guesthouse and home was designed by architect Werner Schmidt who builds many homes from big bales 1.2 m (4ft) thick. Such big bales mean the house is extremely well insulated.

 
 
     
 
   

 
   
 
 
         
   
 

Denmark

 

Poula-Line built her straw bale home in Fri & Fro (Free and Happy) ecoVillage in Egebjerg, Denmark. It's one of a collection of unique straw bale homes in the village. Her home was inspired by a conch shell she found on a beach in Malaysia. Poula, just like Rachel, lived in a small straw bale cabin on her land while she built her home. The structure of the home comes from its roundwood timber frame with a complex and very beautiful reciprocal roof with a seaweed cover like other Danish seaweed homes.

 
 
       
 
   

   
         
   
 

Canada

 

This is the house Chris Magwood built for his mother. It's near Madoc, Ontario, Canada. Chris built the straw bale house in 2004 using earthen plasters and all local materials. It's an off-grid home without a straight wall in the house. The house is well connected to the earth via the vines that grow throughout the gallery, two of the architectural patterns from the book 'A Pattern Language' Chris has used instinctively as a natural builder.