Mr. Ryokawa's Rocket Stove

On May 22 visited the home of Mr. Ryokawa, an architect and arborist living in Karuizawa, Nagano-Prefecture. Mr. Ryokawa has designed and built a number of rocket stoves.The flue travels under a long bench (not pictured) before exiting
Heat Riser

伊藤邸プロジェクト Straw Bale Home in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture

May 11-24 was in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture working on the straw bale home of Tetsu and Yukiko Ito. The home was designed by Professor Goichi Oiwa (大岩先生) of Slow Design Research Group (スローデザイン研究会). Roughly 80 straw bales were used for the south and east first floor walls.
Workshops were held May 14-15 and 21-22. Many people attended including Hiroaki Yoshimoto of the NPO Toyama Straw Bale House Association (富山ストローベイルハウス協会).
Greg Lasigan, a farmer and Anglican priest from the Philippines, was an incredible contribution to our team. A real pleasure to work with. Sometime in the near future, we hope to work together on a model home for the Philippines using mainly bamboo, mud, straw, and unmilled lumber.
Bales stacked and ready for plasterTetsu's nephews did much of the first thin mud layer
Soil from Nagano Prefecture
Chibana-san prepares the split bamboo and rope base for plastering over wood.
Architect and arborist Ryokawa-san prepares a mix of long straw and clay for shaping the wall.Minami cutting straw
Greg shredding straw with a weed-whacker
Shredded strawArchitect Kitamura-sensei applies a cut straw and mud mix to flatten the wall.
The last coat of the scratch/base coat is applied with a trowelExterior scratch coat
Bamboo lattice (竹小舞) and earthen plaster for the interior
Apply the first coat by hand and follow immediately with a trowel.
Group shot from the last day of the workshop


May 8 helped with the construction of the tree house at Wa-no-ie "Sakurai" (和の家「桜井」) in Tokyo.
The tree house is special in that it utilizes traditional Japanese building practices, such as timber framing and bamboo lattice and earthen plastered walls. Mr. Katsumata (勝又氏) lead construction of the bamboo and earthen plastered walls.
Adobe mud loafs to be stacked as bricks.


Leyenda Straw Bale Antique Gallery and Store

April 25 to May 5 worked on the construction of Leyenda Antique Gallery and Store in Toyama City, Toyama Prefecture. Construction began last year and was featured in a blog entry last November. Construction of the building is lead by Hiroaki YOSHIMOTO of the Toyama Straw Bale House Association (富山ストローベイルハウス協会). Hiro and Kyle Team Work included interior and exterior plastering. Although the building utilizes ventilated rain screens to protect the bale walls from rain and snow, the owner wanted straw to be a visual element of the exterior. We achieved this by including straw fibers in the exterior lime plaster, which gave the finish plaster a soft yellow tone. For the finish plaster, the hydrate lime was purchased at the local home improvement center, sand was purchased locally, and local straw was shredded on site. All together, the cost of materials was just over 20,000yen, that's about a $200USD.
Pulling apart fibers for the plaster
Group photo