Building with Straw Bales

Building with Straw Bales


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Create natural, low-impact structures with world-renowned expert

If you’re thinking of building your own eco home, workshop or community space, straw bales could be the answer. This five-day introduction to working with straw combines practical hands-on building workshops with talks and tours to give you an in-depth understanding of this versatile, low-impact material.

Key information

  • Duration: five days
  • Upcoming dates: please see booking section below for all available dates
  • Start and finish times: starts at 5pm and ends at 2pm on the last day
  • Fees: waged £650; low waged / concessions £600
  • Includes: tuition, all materials, full board shared accommodation (single accommodation is available for an additional £80)
  • What to bring: as this is a highly practical course, safety boots are required

What you will learn

Join world-renowned straw bale builder Bee Rowan to learn how to build with this low impact, low waste, highly energy efficient material.

This hands-on, practical course will give you the experience, knowledge and confidence to embark on your own project. Practical sessions will be supported by straw bale theory presentations and plenty of discussion. Plus you’ll tour the straw bale buildings at CAT to hear about how they were designed and built, helping you imagine and plan your very own structure.

Lectures include:

  • Straw bale building and the main principles of the building method and design.
  • Foundations theory and low impact foundations design and use.
  • Principles of clay use as a finish: differences in properties of clay, sourcing clays and assessing the correct mix.
  • The history of lime use and introduction to different limes and their properties, how to make lime and understanding what type of lime to use where, and the aftercare and maintenance of limework.
    Practical sessions include:
  • Preparation – coppicing and shaping hazel from hedgerows, principles and practice.
  • Hand tool and shave horse use.
  • Working with straw bales, timber and coppiced hazel.
  • Load-bearing method and timber frame (infill method).
  • Roof plates and roofing.
  • Clay plasters and different mixes – mechanical mixing and ‘hand’ mixing.

Meet your tutor

Bee Rowan in one of the world’s leading experts in straw bale building

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