November 2008

November 21-25 served as a staff member at the Japan Straw Bale House Association’s workshop and seminar in Tochigi-Prefecture. Construction continued on Nasu Dymaxion Village, a complex of load bearing straw bale buildings. The first building built last year was the Toilet Hut with living roof. During this years workshop we raised and plastered the straw bale walls of the Kitchen Hut. Similar to the Toilet Hut, the interior is finished with an earthen plaster while the exterior is finished with lime plaster. In order to access the straw to monitor the moisture content of the straw using a GE Bale Master Moisture Meter, I set three PVC screw top lids into the wall. The lids are removed in the photo, but screw on to a short piece of pipe to fully seal the wall.

Had a successful sweet potato harvest. We’re raising a couple of chicks in our research studio.
November 30 and December 1 visited Brown’s Field , a health and sustainabililty center in Chiba-Prefecture. Peter Buley, an American friend I met at Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont, is building a tree house at Brown’s Field. http://www.brownsfield-jp.com/brownsfield.htm
I slept in a tree house that was built previously. We visited a home being renovated with natural materials near by. Peter helped with much of work on this home as well. The home features rammed earth walls, light-straw-clay walls, and cordwood walls with an earth based mortar. Un-split bamboo is apparently embedded in the rammed earth walls.