A house of straw

Over the weekend I was back at the amazing Karuna project in Shropshire. I was there to teach an introduction to permaculture course, but there was also a straw bale building workshop going on at the same time, so I had the opportunity to marvel at the construction of a load-bearing straw bale roundhouse. The straw bale course was being run by Bee Rowan of Strawbuild, and during the week participants learned all the techniques by taking part in the build.

I have never encountered a more calm and peaceful building site. So much so, that I think my teaching nearby disturbed them more than their building disturbed us! When I arrived on Friday, the build was in full swing (the course started on the Monday of the same week) and many of the skills had already been taught, so progress was very clear  over the weekend. By the time I left on Sunday evening all the bales were in place and they were getting ready to compress the walls. By now they are working on the roof.

Straw bales have an amazing capacity for insulation and are fire resistant. Once rendered it will be hard to believe that the construction is made of straw and, certainly, no big bad wolf is going to be able to huff and puff and blow it down!

It was also good to see that, after the long planning battle, the local newspaper, The Shropshire Star, featured the project on their front page on Monday and only wrote good things about it.

Next time I visit, I’m looking forward to being invited in for a cup of tea!


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  1. Wow! That looks brilliant and it might be something I could do should I ever need to build. I bet they are warm in the winter too.


  2. Amazing that such a basic way of construction is showing us that the bad old days weren’t so bad after all. Once dressed they look fantastic and what a money saver with less need for heating.
    xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx


  3. Warm, cheap, easy to build, fire resistant once rendered, what’s not to like?


  4. My husband and I did a straw bale course earlier this year. We love the idea, and hopefully in a couple of years, we will build our own house.
    We’ve toyed with the idea of doing a round house, like this one, but we’re pretty set on a regular shape now.


    • The roundhouse took much more work than a rectangular one would because every bale had to be shaped individually, but they had set their hearts on it. The roof is going on now, I gather so I’ll try to post some pictures if I can get hold of a few.


  5. Lovely positive post Ms Snail 🙂



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