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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 
beam frame.
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@...