[GSBN] prefab strawbale

Bob Theis bob at bobtheis.net
Wed Jul 29 20:32:51 CDT 2009


My sense is that it's the stick roof that drives bale buildings away  
from being load bearing.

The roof sticks need some manner of plate or beam under them, and  
require leveling to rather stringent tolerances for the plywood  
decking to go on well, so it's far sinpler to set up some wood  - in  
whatever form - under the plate/beams to level it all up.

When we've done bale vault workshops,  the difference created by the  
huge increase in tolerance level is readily apparent;  everyone is  
involved all the way to the ridge. By contrast, with a stick roof, we  
stack to the top of the wall and then half the group is reduced to  
handing things up to the guys ( mostly ) with the tool belts.

So a roof system with the superinsulation and exceptional user- 
friendliness of bale construction is the missing element.

Bale construction sits right on the border between building that  
comes out of the earth and building that comes out of a box, and a  
user friendly roof won't be of any interest in the Modcell  end of of  
the spectrum, but for the majority of the world that's not a problem.

( Actually, it's only modernist architects that have much  interest  
in a ( prefab )  bale wall with all the soul taken out of it, because  
it's got that hard line look that's supposed to be " the spirit of  
the age".    Our bread and butter in this revival has always been the  
folks who want to live with surfaces that DIDN'T come out of a  
factory. )

Bob Theis
> On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 4:07 PM, Bruce King  
> <ecobruce at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Prefab or site built, compadres and commadres, what still drives me  
> a bit nuts is that we are still using quite a lot of framing lumber  
> to build (most) straw bale buildings.  There are lots of compelling  
> reasons for that, of course, but I keep hoping someone will make  
> the breakthrough that makes load-bearing straw bale much easier and  
> hassle-free.
> There are lots and lots of load-bearing bale buildings all over the  
> world, yes, of course, but they are not mainstream.  Meaning:  in  
> one way or another they are not easy, or cheap (??!!??), or just  
> don't meet (or haven't yet been proven to meet) the kind of  
> building standards that most of us have to work with.
> Straw bale building is stuck in a bit of a wood rut, and I don't  
> know how to bump it out.  Do you?
> Thanks,
> Bruce King
> (415) 987-7271
> bruce-king.com

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