Design & Build with Strawbales at Gudhara Holistic Sanctuary - Southern Highlands

  • 27 Feb 2012 6:19 PM
    Message # 836580
    Something else that looks interesting
    Weekend Residential Workshop 17-18 March 2012
    11 Formal Hours for Registered Architects as a CPD Activity
    Facilitator Frank Thomas

    About the Workshop
    Our environment has always provided an abundant variety of natural materials useful for creating safe and comfortable shelter. The first known strawbale buildings were constructed in the USA in the late 1800s and proved to be equal if not superior to the standard building materials of the time. Bale structures ranged from barns and stables to churches and residential homes proving to be durable, safe and comfortable.

    The inherent thickness and curves of strawbales offer the designer a unique opportunity for expression of walls and structural components. They take on the appearance of a thick stone or mudbrick elements with a compelling tactile nature. Their natural plaster finish also provides a breathability to the building envelope giving healthier internal living spaces that feel fresh and invigorating.

    The construction system of strawbales (infill or loadbearing) offer endless possibilities in forming curved or straight walls. Niches, rounded edges and texture variation all become part of the expressive pallet for creating beautiful and ecologically sustainable buildings.

    Straw is an annually renewing & relative abundant natural material. In most grain producing regions straw, the long hollow stems of cereal crops such as wheat, oats, rice & barley', is considered waste that is discarded. Enormous quantities of straw are produced in Australia every year. More than half of it is burned, releasing thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Straw is usually regionally available and requires little or no industrial processing giving it's very low embodied energy. Strawbale buildings also require considerable less timber and other building materials making it an economically viable alternative construction system.

    Topics Covered
    Background of natural building materials
    Sustainable properties of strawbale buildings
    Construction systems and details
    Design and aesthetics of strawbales
    Examples and projects
    Standards and Council Approvals

    The weekend will incorporate presentations and construction of a small strawbale structure. There will also be plenty of time for informal exchanges with the presenter and other participants.

    Ability to design with strawbales
    Appreciation of sustainable qualities of a natural building materials
    Hands on experience in constructing with strawbales
    Opportunity to share with other professionals

    Facilitator - Frank Thomas

    After finishing his carpentry/roofing apprenticeship in Germany, Frank travelled the world as a member of the traditional tradesman guild "Freiheitsschacht". The aim of the journey was to gain new skills, become an expert tradespern and extend ones knowledge of cultural, social and political issues of our world. He became interested in alternative building technologies around 1986, as part of a team specializing in grass-roof construction in Europe then participating in a large solar-active/passive mud brick research project in Delhi, India during 1989/1990 Frank has been involved with over 50 strawbale projects including hospitals, meditation centres, schools and private residences. His Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow Strawbale Construction Company provides a wide range of sustainable building services. After more than twenty years of widespread experience in the building industry his aim is to build healthy, environmentally friendly and energy efficient houses, emphasizing sustainability and permaculture principles.

    Investment and inclusions

    The workshop will commence 9.30am Saturday 17 March and conclude 1pm Sunday 18 March and will be located in the beautiful bushland retreat centre in the Southern Highlands, NSW. Accommodation is in twin share rooms or single rooms with ensuite. Meals are delicious organic vegetarian cuisine with morning and afternoon teas included. For rates and registration details see here. More detailed information on what to bring and directions will be provided on registration. Register here. For transport to workshop by train see here.

    Last modified: 27 Feb 2012 6:21 PM | Martin

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