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

Chris Mowatt ChrisMowatt at i12...
Wed Jul 30 14:23:59 CEST 2003


Thanks for your comments. Its good to see that our little project is
provoking some interest.

> Well one cannot be said that you are not trying to push the envelope mate.
Someone's got to.

> How about building it the way the Yemenis did with their 7 story high
> mud brick buildings?  i.e. building a very wide foundation and gradually
> declining the size as you rise?
It's an option, but is it necessary? Scottish castles were built in much
the same way with very thick walls, typically thirteen feet, narrowing to
a mere three or four foot at the top. This was necessary because of the
collossal weight of their building material  and the dimensional variability
of their building material. Is it necessary with straw bales? My rough
calculations say not, but I may well be wrong.

> Ground floor;  Maybe 8'x4'x'4' on their flat and then faced inwards so
> you get an 8' wide wall as the base, go 18' high or 6.0m.  5 bales.
> Second floor could be 8'x4'x4'  with the bales on the other plane i.e.
> 4' wide.     This gives you a 4' wide base to sit the floor joists on.
> 4 high i.e. 4.8 metres high.  14'.
> Third floor could be 8'x3'x2'bales with the 2' wide i.e the bales on
> edge.  This gives a 2'wide base for the floor joists.  3 high i.e. 2.7
> high or 9'.
> Fourth floor standard bales. This gives a 6'wide base for the floor
> joists.  6 high or 8' or 2.4m
I like your thinking, it suggests you are taking the idea seriously, at

> A total height including bottom, middle and top plates of some 16 metres
> high or 50'.  Aprox.  Bloody high mate.  Do not know if it would work
> though but just another way to look at it.
Bloody high, but height is one of our targets.
> All floors load bearing.  You will need scaffold for this method.
Is that a statement of fact or just an opinion? I can't see why your
couldn't be jacked in the same way as mine, so long as you can build in
adequate jacking points and spread the load well.
> I have a heap of problems with the idea though, but the main concern
> would be moisture protection.   With good rendering details you may just
> succeed.  You will need good water proof capping for the top of the
> walls.  Earth based lime putty finished renders may just be water proof
> but they do crack under load and once you have a crack you have a
> moisture problem.
The problem is not so much the cracks, but identifying them and
repairing them before any damage occurs.

> Anyhow have fun.
Sure will
> Hope it helps the thinking.
Sure does

Chris (and Beth)

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