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GSBN: Digest for 11/11/03

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-> our visit to Europe 
     by "Frank & Ingrid" strawbales@...
-> Re: GSBN:Trying to find contact info for Danny Buck
     by "D&F Buck" fiodanbuck@...


Date: 11 Nov 2003 01:43:24 -0500
From: "Frank & Ingrid" strawbales@...
Subject: our visit to Europe 

Hello everyone,
We have recently returned from Germany/Europe where we spent two months
visiting family & friends and, of course, took the opportunity to share
strawbale building information, present slide shows of our work, help
built a strawbale dome and learn some very exciting new (or rather old)
rendering & surface treatment techniques. The following report of some
of these experiences may hopefully be of interest to most of you. Enjoy,
Frank & Ingrid
Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow, Strawbale Construction. www.strawbale.com.au

Strawbale building gathering in the eco-village Siebenlinden in Germany.

This 3 day gathering was very well organised by the FSB (Fachverband
fuer Strohballenbau Deutschland, see www.fasba.de ) and was attended by
about 70 people. Presentations from Switzerland, Austria, Holland,
Rumania, Australia and of course Germany included the following themes;
German & Austrian fire test results, physical properties of straw bales
for building, moisture measurements and building code approval for
strawbales. Many different strawbale projects, some residential, some
commercial & some experimental, were introduced as well. The host
village Siebenlinden is a great example of an eco-community where
sustainability, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly
principles are followed with the construction of new and the renovation
of old buildings. More about this gathering (from the organisers) should
be available in the next issue of TLS.

Strawbale (Music) Dome in Forstmehren, Germany

This exceptional strawbale building will be used as a sound studio or
music-dome where voice development & music seminars as well as concerts
are to be held. The musician and owner of the dome explains that the
special acoustic properties of domes are due to the sound being
distributed very evenly as the waves travel around the room. 

The strawbale dome measures 8.20 metres in diameter, is about 5 metres
high, with an opening of 1.8 metres on the top from where a skylight
provides plenty of daylight. It has been built using a construction of
laminated beams and plywood strips with the strawbales placed in-between
this structure. Even the floor is built with strawbales; they are
positioned on pallets and particle boards are freely swimming on top. 
Internal walls are completely rendered with clay whereas only one coat
of clay render has been applied on the outside. The dome has been
covered with a very tough waterproof membrane and vines are to grow over
the bright blue fabric. With the brick foundation hidden by earth and
the vines growing over the structure this building will soon blend in
perfectly with nature.

Prof. Gernot Minke (author of the Earth Construction Handbook), together
with his research assistant Friedemann Mahlke and a team of architecture
students from the University of Kassel, Germany
(http://www.uni-kassel.de/fb6/fachgebiete/feb/welcome_e.htm) designed,
planned and built this structure. They were helped by Frank Thomasa, the
owners and clay rendering & finishes specialist Manfred Fahnert. Prof.
G. Minke has built more than 20 domes, mainly from mud bricks, rammed
earth and earth bags however, this is the first strawbale dome or music
dome he and his team have realised and probably the first strawbale dome
to be found in Europe.


We had the privilege to be engaged as guest speakers at a workshop run
by the Dutch strawbale building company RAMstrobouw. Their large
strawbale project in Warns, Friesland, includes a shipyard, annex,
warehouse and living quarters. It was a rather long drive to get up to
this hidden corner in Holland but it was well worth the effort. Rob
Kaptein from RAMstrobouw was a great host, organiser and another
inspiration to our trade. Our presentation was very well received and it
was a pleasure working with Rob and the workshop participants during a
wall raising day. The company has completed some beautiful strawbale
projects which can be visited on following website www.ramstrobouw.nl/

Creative Plastering & Colour Design Course in Kassel, Germany

This advanced and specialised clay rendering, colour design and surface
treatment course was run by Manfred Fahnert, a well known expert in his
field in Germany. A carpenter by trade, Manfred is an artist when it
comes to clay, lime, colours, special surface effects and creative
ornaments. The four day course was run at the University in Kassel
(http://www.uni-kassel.de/fb6/fachgebiete/feb/welcome_e.htm) and
provided a chance to see some experimental loadbearing strawbale
buildings with grass roofs at the same time. 

Topics and practicals covered included the Italian lime plaster
Stukkolustro, the Moroccan glossy lime plaster Tadelakt, traditional
Japanese clay and lime render surfaces, decorative surface effects and
Lazure painting techniques. Most of these techniques need hours of
experience for perfection and are quite labour, therefore cost
intensive. However, the effects and characteristics achieved by them can
far outweigh time and money concerns. 

Tadelakt and Stukkolustro techniques provide waterproof surfaces without
using chemicals or destroying the vapour permeability of clay and lime.
The glossy surfaces of Tadelakt & Stukkolustro are achieved by mixing a
special soap into the final coat of the lime plaster. This final coat is
worked into the wall, using a granite stone to compact the surface as
much as possible. The result is a glossy waterproof surface shimmering
in many colours, quite unlike any other plaster finish we have arrived
at before.

Traditional Japanese finishes were achieved by using different rendering
tools to apply the finish coat. About 300 different trowels can be used
to create as many different surfaces. Effects range from rough and
textured to a very smooth wall finish. Other decorative surface effects
were achieved by adding gold or silver dust, colourful pebbles or
similar to the last plaster application. These additives are then
brought back to the surface using sponges or brushes to partly liberate
them from the plaster. The protruding or visible additives bring
texture, colour, shimmer and three dimensional effects to the wall. 
Lazure painting is a technique where natural, tinted translucent glazes
are applied over walls coated with a natural white paint. Many layers of
colours built up to create a translucent and visually textural wall
finish. The paint base and glazes are made of all natural components
such as beeswax, casein, tree resins and essential plant oils. The
pigments are derived from natural sources as well. They include earth,
mineral, ground semi-precious stone such as jasper or lapis lazuli and
high quality plant pigments. Application of lazure paints can be made
with brushes, rags, sponges, brooms, combs, leather, balls, hands,
fingers..; they can be painted on, dotted on, wiped on, wound on...;
there is basically no limit to creativity and techniques. The results
are shimmery, light filled colours that shift with changing light -
giving life to the walls while maintaining a healthy and natural

PS: Please visit our website www.strawbale.com.au and go to "News" for
of photos from some of the above.


Date: 11 Nov 2003 20:25:28 -0500
From: "D&F Buck" fiodanbuck@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Trying to find contact info for Danny Buck

here i am

- ----- Original Message -----
From: Bruce King ecobruce@...
Sent: Monday, November 10, 2003 3:31 PM
Subject: Re: GSBN:Trying to find contact info for Danny Buck

> I have -
> LivingStr@...
> for Danny Buck
> Bruce King



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