Felix Jerusalem’s design for a home in Eschenz, CH takes a fairly old material and repurposes it nicely for a contemporary architecture. With the exception of a concrete core, all of the load bearing elements are compressed straw panels with a inexpensive plastic sheathing. What’s remarkable is not only the load that straw can carry, but it’s a significantly better insulator than timber, so the assembly is both a structural element and the main insulator of the house. For those of you who aren’t familiar with building technology, there are a few other materials that can do this (concrete, rammed earth, adobe) but typically they are very difficult to assemble and you need a set of specialists… which is usually expensive. This technology is economical, efficient, and easy to construct, providing an interesting model for construction in areas with lots of straw.

from ::dwell

  • Very interesting! How thick are the exterior walls? The walls of a straw bale home I toured several years ago were the thickness of square bales (about 2 ft thick).

    • It’s actually not technically straw bale, it’s a compressed straw wall panel. the straw is cut up and reassembled to form a composite panel like MDF. The dwell article I saw didn’t mention thicknesses, but I found some construction pics and a plan here, it looks like they’re somewhere between 8″ – 10″.