A straw bale off-grid house near Madoc, Canada


This is the house Chris Magwood built for his mother, Sandra Zabludofsky. 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 (Pattern No.246, ‘Climbing Plants’) that grow throughout the gallery (Pattern No.166, 'Gallery Surround').


It's just two of the architectural patterns from the book 'A Pattern Language' Chris has used instinctively as many natural builders do.

Chris has written a number of books about natural building, the most recent of them is 'Making Better Buildings'. The book is a collection of insights into different natural building techniques and materials to help you understand the options, characteristics and suitability for your needs and climate. His book has many very positive reviews:

"This is written by one of the world's most experienced green builders and educators. It provides you with all the information necessary to compose the shade of green which suits you best. The information gathered here about issues such as techniques, embodied energy, health aspects are unique in the world, and is guaranteed to make this book the leading reference book for environmentally concerned building planners for years to come", Max Vittrup Jensen, consultant and director, PermaLot Centre of Natural Building.