[Strawbale]part 2: Look Ma', no hands!

rikki nitzkin rnitzkin at hotmail...
Wed Mar 30 13:43:14 CEST 2005

I always thought that to build a solid, load-bearing SB house it was 
necessary to include a tie-down system and a roof-plate.

On a recent trip investingating SB houses in Spain, I found out that this is 
not true.

I saw eight SB structures with know tie-down system, five of which had no 
roof-plate, and all were perfectly solid.  The oldest of these houses is 4 
years old, and hasn´t moved at all.  The biggest is two stories high (29m2 
per floor).

This two-story house was built using a unique technique: the man plastered 
each course of bales as it went up.  The first three courses could be laid 
and plastered at once, then about one course a day, so that the straw/clay 
plaster had time to set.  He built the whole house, alone, in less than two 
months.  The walls have not compressed at all.  The beams for the second 
story are placed over very small (2x2) strips of wood laid on top of the 
bales--no tie-down. The roof beams the same, just plastered all around with 
a heavy straw/clay plaster.  The roof is very light-weight.

This reminds me of Tom Rijven´s system of bale-dippìng, but one step 

Does anyone know of any other homes (load-bearing) built without tie-down 
systems or roof-plates?
How have they held up?  If it really works (in these houses it seems to) it 
could save a lot of time and money in building . . .

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