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GSBN:German Strawbale Gathering
>From July 12 - 14 a group of 52 people gathered in the ecovillage Sieben
Linden in northern central Germany in order to found ( or relaunch ) the
German Strawbale Network. The meeting was initiated and organized by Axel
Linde, humble disciple of Judy Knox and Matts Myhrman and a claybuilder by
trade and Dirk Scharmer, architect and carpenter and an expert on german
building regulations as they relate to strawbale building. The group was
composed of owner-builders, craftspeople, architects and representatives of
the scientific community. The ecovillage, settled in a beautiful, rather
remote landscape, prooved to by an ideal location, featuring a 2-story
post-and-beam strawbale community building under construction and another
triple story residential strawbale building in the planning stage ( architect
Dirk Scharmer ). The first day of the gathering was a hands-on workshop with
slide presentations in the evening, intending to create a common level of
knowledge among the very diverse participants. The 10 by 10 foot model
building errected during the workshop presented an integrated post and beam
sytem that makes both eco-builder and building engineer happy. Main feature
is a sheet of OSB laid horizontally into the bale-wall every third course and
attached to the posts with a sliding metal-connector, thereby allowing for
settling and compression while securly transfering windloads to the post and
On the second day, a number of construction and research projects were
presented. A rather lively discussion took place about the advantages and
risks of introducing strawbale-construction to the German building code.
Agreement was reached that any measure to spread the use of strawbales in
construction is positive, as long as it remains an accessible option for the
owner-builder and a sales opportunity for the local farmer.
In the afternoon, various post-and-beam approaches were presented and
discussed. Load-bearing strawbale-construction will not be an option in
Germany within the forseeable future due to the strict building codes.
The last day was dedicated to the creation of networking tools.
A website is hence under construction :www.strawbalehouse.de
In a breathtaking coup de force the last hour of the meeting was used to
found a german strawbale association "Fachverband Strohballenbau Deutschland
e.V." which is currently applying for a non-profit status. Main purpose of
the association is to be used as a fund-raising tool to sponsor research,
testing and the dissemination of information on strawbale construction in
Brief, it was a very fruitful, enjoyable and rewarding weekend with
promissing alliances created and a lot of enthusiasm raised.
Axel Linde, straw- and clay-builder, NaturalXl@...
Dirk Scharmer, architect/carpenter, info@...