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My perspective on Straw Bale structures

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  • Laura Lee Intscher
    Hello all, I would like to clarify my intentions and perspective on Straw Bale (and green design) in general... I have a bit different position than many in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2005
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      Hello all, I would like to clarify my intentions and perspective on Straw Bale (and green design) in general... I have a bit different position than many in this forum (as I have seen in the responses from my last post regarding size and design). Many of you on the list are home owners (or want to be) of a straw bale home, and have a great sense of personal responsibility about the use of natural resources and how it suits your family. I think there are others in this forum who build lots, and are in the 'profession' as teachers, advocates, designers or contractors.

      I am an architect. I see my role in the Straw Bale construction (and green design) as an advocate for industry change and I want to try to change the minds of my clients to accept more 'unusual' forms of construction to be more earth friendly. I am really sickened by my own industry and all the wasteful design, structures and products that are pushed in the face of consumers. I am also really against the design of McMansions and the 'too big house' - I really do work very hard for moderation, while still trying to maintain good relationships with clients.

      I was introduced to Straw Bale by one of my clients. When I interviewed for the job, I told them I had no experience with this, but I really wanted to learn and thought it was a great idea. I did not charge them any extra for my time spent in researching the construction method - in fact I charged them a standard fee, same as for a regular construction. I saw the oppertunity to learn something new. It remains to this day - one of my most favorite projects. Now together with that client we regularly have an information booth at every local earthfest event/or conference.

      I am taking my role futher at this point. I am in the planning phase (construction to begin in June) of my own home and architectural studio. It will be a large (not huge) home, with many inovative aspects of construction including Straw Bale, Earth Plaster, Geo-thermal, Steel structural system, Passive Solar, Wheat board interior wall finish, LED lighting, Energy Efficient equipment, Recycled build in furniture, and many more things... It will serve as a gracious showcase (it will be finished within an inch of its life) for green design. But, my clients need to see upscale things that they want for themselves... like a beautiful kitchen and granite countertops, beautiful fixtures and furnishing. It needs to have the luxury touches that 'high-end' homes have. I want to show them - they can live well and live in harmony. They do not need to become a bohemian outcast to take advantage of 'green' responsible design, it can be for everyone.

      I am grateful to all the adventurous folks who have experimented with Straw Bale and opened the world to this work, and who have taught me invaluble lessons. I would like to the forward motion to continue to encompass more people across a wider spectrum - including those who want a turn-key luxury home. Why not?

      Laura Lee Intscher

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