When ever I drive past the new building on the edge of every town, I wonder — why aren’t they building straw bale?

But the word is spreading, and staw bale buildings are becoming a more common sight around the world.  What to take a little tour?

Learn about a straw bale building has been incorporated into the Slow Living movement in Japan at this blog, then check out the blog of Kyle Holzhueter who works as a straw bale builder and translator in Japan.  He has a PhD in Bioresource Sciences from Nihon University where he researched the hygrothermal environment of straw bale walls in Japan

Photo courtesy of David Fortin


Learn how David Fortin, architecture professor at Montana state University, and his student Michael Spencer researched solutions to a housing shortage in Kenya for three years.  This past summer, they worked on building straw bale structures in the east-African country.

“Straw-bale construction in Kenya is sustainable and makes economic and sociologic sense,” Spencer said. “There is already a long waiting list of people interested in straw-bale structures.”


Straw bale building really seems to be taking off in England, and a lot of them look like something out of a fairy tale.  But not all of them..

Here is an interesting design by Brian Waite, an engineer who is focused on low cost, low energy building with a minimal carbon foot print and a lot of style.

University of Bath project.

Here is house with an ultra modern look built by researchers from the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction materials at the Univeristy of Bath built of prefabricated straw and hemp panels.

This straw bale building is part of a research project in collaboration with Modcell and several other industrial partners to develop commercial methods of adapting renewable building materials  for homes of the future.


Check out Ausbale, a website that promotes the art and science of straw bale building.  They have a wonderful collection of photos that show the breadth of styles and basic beauty that building with straw bale can create.


Straw bales of waste rice straw are being used in northern China to build houses and public buildings where there is a desperate need for adequate housing.  Evidently straw bale works wonderfully there.  It’s earth quake country, and the straw bale structures  have withstood quake damage while providing great insulation.  Win win!

WASHINGTON D.C.  (Doesn’t it seem like a foreign country sometimes?)

Check out an interesting video about a demo straw bale house that was built in our capital.

Built for the eath quakes of Argentina


Learn about a straw bale house in South America.  This house was built of straw to address the extremely cold winters and hot summers.  Straw was the cheapest way to get the insulation needed.  It’s also earth quake country.  In a recent quake, a little plaster cracked.

SIBERIA   Here is a report about straw bale building in Siberia where the inexpensive material with super insulating qualities is perfect for a place with long, cold winters like the Altai mountains in Siberia.

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