2011-05-22

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

6 comments:

Emily said...

Nice Kyle! It's fun to see that you have a Philippino with you. My partner is also from the Philippines. It's really cool having his background for ideas on how to "use what you got" when building. (nice bucket for weed-whacker straw chopping. I bought one of those hand choppers before returning to the States. Love it too.) Glad to see Toyama representing as well! The house is beautiful. So you use the split bamboo over unplastered strawbales on the inside it looks like. How many benefits can you count with that method? A faster approach for a flat surface comes to mind, but I imagine you experience other benefits as well. Thanks for being so good with sharing!
Emily

Kyle Holzhueter said...

Emily,
Using a weed-whacker to shred straw is an idea I picked up in the US. Can't remember where exactly.
Greg, from the the Philippines was such a pleasure to work with. We hope to work on a model home using natural building materials for the high elevation village he lives in. I have some ideas in mind and will get them down on paper as soon as I have a chance.
I don't think that the split bamboo with earthen plaster is ideal for the interior. One of the fundamental characteristics of straw bales is that they can act as not only insulation, but also as a base for plaster. Ideally the bale wall is sealed with plaster on both the exterior and interior. Stacking the bales against a conventional Japanese timber frame prevents this, or at least makes it very difficult to seal the side of the bales butting up against the posts and diagonal bracing. I'd like to find some way to cleanly plaster both sides of the bale wall in combination with a conventional Japanese timber frame. Any ideas?

OJ Lopez said...

Hi Kyle,

I'm a new architect in the Philippines, do you know any straw bale construction in our country? And is straw bale good in humid climates?

Kyle Holzhueter said...

I don't know of any straw bale buildings in the Philippines and straw bale is usually not recommended for tropical regions. I'm actually slowly working on a sustainable building project for the Philippines using waste agricultural byproducts such as rice hulls. I will post more info as the project develops.

OJ Lopez said...

Great. I would like to help out. Keep us posted. Thanks.

Kyle Holzhueter said...

Okay, things are moving along very slowly, but I'll keep you up to date.