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All About The Straw!
Building With Cellulose

What is a strawbale?

Giant mashed down cubes of cellulose shaft or body, for structural walls ledges furniture and platforms. Light enough to lift, porous enough to  filter toxins and insulate, complex enough to lend excellent accoustical ambience, simpl enough to assemble by hand, basic enough to stack by hand, forgiving enough to be sawed, hammered, curved and sculpted. ample multiplicity to slash your budget & bolster your living space, textured enough to grab all plasters, and solid enough to support considerable vertical load and snuff out all traces of the outside world.

why build with bales?

Strawbale buildings are an excellent expression of the golden topic of multiplicity: at once combining comfort, performance and value. As a structural sheathing or load-bearing wall material, compare them to most other building motifs*, whether we're talking about standard, commercial construction or so-called 'alternative' building (natural or green building, avantgarde chic or any other housing language-contrivance), and you're hard pressed to exceed a bale's uncanny simpl manner of sweetening air and regulating humidity, maintaining the thermal comfort zone, and soundproofing- while helping to hold up the roof and stretching the budget.

*side interruption: there is one competitor in the global shelter-multiplicity sweepstakes, which may rank higher overall, in SimPl terms: mud. but that’s a whole different webpage altogether. back to the news…

a versatile convenience
Bulky though it be, a strawbale (or simply, bale) may consist of any form of starchy cellulose- be it grass, grain, weed or reed- and is always a natural and renewable resource, may be bundled in the field around the building site or delivered direct from the local farmer.

now we’ll saunter down the road of wishful thinking, a place where sensibility prevails:
a bale, if free to enter an unrestricted materials marketplace, would be the result of convenient availabilities such as the discards of harvested cereal crops, the welcome removal of invasive creepers and vines such as kudzu, the intentional exploitation of marvelously endowed crops such as hemp, or the opportunistic harvesting of tall natural grasses growing wild in a field.

good news for any economy
This is all useful multiplicity for the intrepid entrepeneurial farmer, and opportunities abound. From just these previous examples, we see that bale technology can multiply, upmarket the uses and overall value of many commercial crops as well as even the most reviled nuisance vegetation, thereby improving any farm or property’s bottom line. this also opens the building market to an increased plethora of material species which assert a lasting, general usefulness in human society, thus dialing down the overexploitation of world timber.

natural evolutions in world farming would soon take root- public services like removing pesky kudzu from the some areas’ landscape and edifices would suddenly become profitable. pestbales alone could eventually displace more expensive, commercial straws, as bale-material frontrunners in the emerging marketplace. with on-site bale material thus satisfied, this frees farmers to engage in-situ mulching methods whereas chaff is always returned to their fields for improved soil enrichment, thus reducing topsoil loss, chemical dependency and overhead expenses.
(re: Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution)

the perfect world

…and if we all lived in a sensible human world not controlled by selfish industry cartels and commercial interests with resultant high-restriction building codes, all this hopeful diatribe would be just so much third-grade education amidst a veritable sea of private farms of countless harvests for every need and season. and the building industry, from out of nowhere would emerge as a major player in the game.

it is clear thus, what responsibility the new organic frontier must take on, in order to transform a depletionary world into the freeflow of interdependent, practical plenty.

well. a boy can hope.

see straw in action.

just for fun, here’s a SimPL project walk-through of The Roundhouse, a strawbale-earthbag-cob (mixed earth) hybrid green building, constructed in conjunction with The Farm Ecovillage Training Center, Tennessee, USA, circa 2000-2002.

The Roundhouse, A Hybrid Green Building Project