The National Trustís first straw bale building, Windermere, England.

 

 
 
 
 


This is the UK National Trust's first straw bale building. It's near Windermere in the Lake District National Park. The straw bale building is called Footprint to emphasise the low CO2 footprint of its construction. The Footprint was the first building in Cumbria, UK to be built with straw bales.

   
       

It's a beautiful and inspirational space. The low environmental impact development used local timber floors and walkways; an oak shake roof; clay and lime plasters; highly efficient glazing and sheepís wool insulation. Hundreds of people lent a hand in its construction and hundreds more visited the building site on an organised event to learn about natural building. It was built by Amazon Nails (below left), now Straw Build (Bee Rowan) and Straw Works (Barbara Jones).

The interior wall which divides the open space from a small kitchen and store is built from traditional cob on the lower courses and then less commonly with cob blocks. The cob was a made from clay cleared from the site mixed with straw by a digger. Cob blocks, similar to adobe bricks but larger, were tamped and stamped into preset forms (below right) carefully tipped out to dry on racks. Over 1500 bricks were made this way with a further 600 cob blocks bought from a supplier in Devon, England's cob building heart.