[Strawbale] Load Bearing Multi-storey Straw Bale Tower House Castle

Chris Mowatt ChrisMowatt at i12...
Mon Jul 28 18:21:22 CEST 2003


To answer your questions and anticipate a few others....

Why build a four storey straw bale castle?
We want to provide a dramatic focal point for the Free Energy Centre, a new
sustainable-living visitors centre planned to open in spring 2004.

Why a castle?
It's dramatic and interesting and so will attract plenty of media interest.
Also, there is the ruins of Kildonan Castle nearby, which forms a precedent
for building such a structure in this location.

Why four storeys?
Kildonan Castle and most other Scottish castles were traditionally four

Why build of straw bales?
Low lifetime energy usage, low embedded energy, low cost, traditional look
and feel, simple DIY construction etc. etc..

Why load bearing rather than timber frame?
Timber frame seems a bit of a cop out. The straw bales are used as little
more than cheap insulation and their structural advantages are almost
completely ignored.

Is it just to see if it can be done, to be the first, because it's
traditional style, or another reason?
All those reasons and more. Yes, we would like to be the first to build a
four storey straw bale building, partly because of the free publicity it
will attract but mainly because we like a challenge. Perhaps there is also a
hint of evangelicalism in our motives. Straw bale construction will never
achieve widespread use unless the boundaries are pushed beyond single storey
DIY houses There are advantages in straw bale construction that could be
applied to commercial building. If commercial builders can be persuaded that
straw bale building is both popular and economic then its use could become
widespread and, ultimately, lead to massive reduction in fossil fuel usage
and attendant pollutants.

When and where? Ideally next summer, but realistically summer 2005, at
Kildonan Farm, Isle of Arran, Scotland.


----- Original Message -----
From: "simon b" <pieman66 at yahoo...>
To: <strawbale at amper....muni.cz>
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2003 1:29 PM
Subject: Re: [Strawbale] Load Bearing Multi-storey Straw Bale Tower House

> Hi,
> Your project sounds very exciting, but I have to admit that a lot of the
> technical stuff went over my head.
> But what I am interested to know is why do you want to build a four
> storey building?!
> Is it just to see if it can be done, to be the first, because it's
> traditional style, or another reason?
> When and where are you planning to build it?
> Yours curiously,
> Simon
>  --- Chris Mowatt <ChrisMowatt at i12...> wrote: > Four Storey Straw Bale
> Tower House Castle at The Free Energy Centre,
> > Kildonan Farm, Isle of Arran, Scotland
> >
> > Has anyone any experience of building multi storey straw bale
> > buildings?
> >
> > We want to build a four-storey tower house castle. This would be in the
> > style of the traditional Scottish four storey tower house castle. It
> > would
> > be about twenty metres in height and include a conventional pitched
> > roof and
> > simulated battlements. The aim is to use load bearing straw bale
> > construction methods. We have spoken to the local authority planning
> > department and building control and their response was encouraging.
> >
> > This idea presents many challenges. There are very few two storey straw
> > bale
> > houses and, so far as I know, no four storey buildings. Our site at
> > Kildonan
> > Farm is a very exposed location subject to strong winds, heavy rain and
> > extremely variable and unpredictable weather! Not the ideal place for
> > construction of a straw bale building! However, challenges are what
> > makes
> > life interesting and to succeed would be very noteworthy.
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