Villa del Pino: A Straw Bale Home in Fukushima-Prefecture

From July 26th to the 31st, I was working on straw bale project in Fukushima-Prefecture with the Japan Straw Bale House Association. The first floor is conventional fiberglass insulation and siding, while the second floor is straw bale. The exterior is finished with lime-silicon plaster, while the interior will be finished with dry wall. Before the dry wall is hung, the interior is also plastered to prevent vermin, fire, and moisture from entering the straw bale wall.The housing development is surrounded by a national park. Nearby, a cobalt blue lake created roughly 100 years ago after a volcanic eruption. And misty mountains.


Dave said...

That lake looks like liquid candy. Why did they have one floor conventional and one floor straw bale?

Kyle Holzhueter said...


I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to respond. This area of Japan receives considerable snowfall. In fact, most homes in the area have stem-walls extending at least a meter above ground level. It was deemed safer to use conventional materials on the ground floor and straw bale on the second floor.


buck blankenship said...

Could it be possible to do a straw bale on the first floor. I have seen it done in many places with cold climates. Or what about another alternative material on the first floor like cordwood walls?


Kyle Holzhueter said...


Thank you for the comment. Cold isn't a problem. Meters of melting and freezing snow accumulation on plastered straw bale walls is a problem. Yes, straw bale on the first floor would be possible. The design and construction should prevent snow accumulation adjacent to the plastered straw bale walls. Common solutions include: 1) Lengthening the stem wall to lift bale walls above accumulating snow. Or 2) the use of verandas or rainscreens to physically prevent snow from reaching plastered bale walls. If you would like to give me a call, we can talk about cordwood walls.