[Strawbale] Planning a home of BigBales 2011 in Estonia

Dave Howorth dave at howorth....uk
Sun Feb 27 22:28:31 CET 2011

On Sun, 2011-02-27 at 11:26 +0100, forum at lamaisonenpaille... wrote:
> Hello Dave,

Hi Andre

> Have you read Buce King's book?

Yes, and quite a few others :)

> It is easy to proove that plaster plays an important structural role in 
> plastered bale walls: plaster a bale on 2 sides and (once the plaster is 
> dry) push with your hands on the bale. Push with the other hand on a non 
> plastered bale. The difference in stiffness of the bale your hands will 
> expérience results from the resistance added by the (rigid) plaster. 
> Even an important gap between plaster and the roof bearing assembly 
> would not take away this phenomena.

But again, that's an unloaded bale where the load is applied afterwards,
which is not the usual built case. I absolutely agree that the plaster
makes the structure a lot stiffer, and increases the ultimate
load-bearing strength. I'm just not convinced that the plaster skins
take all the load. I wonder if anybody has actually ever measured this?

> So if we agree that plaster plays an important structural role we can 
> debate wether one wants to use this strengh for live and/or dead loads. 
> If possible, I would like the straw to be able to resist to all the 
> normal loads (dead and live) and have the plaster as a safety margin for 
> when mother nature throws that amazing storm/snowload/earthquake at your 
> building.

I think we seem to be agreeing, yes, and I agree with your desire.

> After having seen a presentation from a Peter Braun (a Swiss engineer) 
> on the Big bale buildings he designs I have come to no longer think of 
> loadbearing big bale building as something simple. He often expérienced 
> differences in settlement during the build and he came up with different 
> ways of counterbalancing them. True, he seems to me to like the 
> challange of making complicated buildings...
> Me, I prefer simple buildings.

I'm not familiar with his work. Do you have any links?

> I also think it is great that not all people are like me...

I'll second that. The world would be a dreadful place if it was full of

Cheers, Dave

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