Building with Earth & Straw Part 1: Insulating Straw Walls

By April 21, 2017 Strawbale No Comments
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Date(s) - 04/21/2017 - 04/23/2017
All Day

Spreadwing Farm


In this workshop you will learn the basics of post-and-beam straw bale construction and light straw-clay, also called slipstraw. Both are highly insulating natural wall systems appropriate for nearly any climate. Every day we will spend time working on an actual building. Lectures and slide presentations will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of each wall system and how to use them in combination in a hybrid natural home, as well as the thermal properties of natural materials and how to design your passive solar home. Also learn to harvest, test and select clay and straw for building, and tour other buildings on the site including cob and adobe.

This is the first part of a 3-part workshop intended to introduce students to the basic concepts and techniques needed to build an efficient, beautiful and durable natural home. The following workshops will cover earthen floors, natural plasters and finishing options, as well as a tour of local natural homes.

Instructor Michael G. Smith has been teaching hands-on natural building workshops since 1993. He has designed and built over 50 hybrid natural buildings using everything from bamboo and cordwood masonry to timber frames and earthen roofs. He is the co-author of The Hand-Sculpted House and The Art of Natural Building. For more information on the workshop and instructors, see