New stunning straw bale (apartment) houses, built in 2023. Successful STEP Trainings in Portugal, Austria and Spain. A wonderful Congrés National Construction Paille in France. And: The “House of the Year” in Germany goes to … a straw bale house!
New stunning straw bale houses in Europe, finished/built in 2023:
Germany: After Co-housing project “Speicherbogen” (2.225m2 floor area) Arch. Dirk Scharmer and his office Deltagruen built another apartment-block in Lüneburg, Germany: “Querbeet” (3.500 m² living floor area) is the newest multi-family-apartment-building insulated with straw bales. Congratulations from ESBA! Info in our straw bale house database: Speicherbogen / Querbeet / deltagruen.de (German) / or on Querbeet-Website (German); photocredits: deltagruen.de
Surrounded by the Hessian Highlands and located in the Harleshausen district of Kassel, a new residential neighbourhood has been created. The first house was completed in summer 2023 and occupied by young and old, singles, couples and families. In the second construction phase, two more houses are planned, which will be built in timber frame construction with clay and straw. In these two houses, there are still larger flats with a kitchen-cum-living room available, which they would prefer to allocate to adults with children. A flat-sharing community is also welcome. More info on Kassel im Wandel and in ARD Mediathek (German).
And the House of the Year in Germany is …. also a straw bale house by Atelier Kaiser Shen. Wow, congratulations! More info about this many times published Haus Hoinka here in English on Dezeen. The photography is by Brigida Gonzalez.
The Netherlands: Wouter Klijn (former SBN, Vakgroep Strobouw, NL/BE) mentions, that “at the moment we are building the second and third block out of five blocks of 8 houses in a 40-houses project with straw-bales. 16 houses are for sale and 24 are social rent.” The project is called: Ecovillage Klein Oers. Info: https://kleinoers.nl/
In a STEP Training in Kessel-Elk, NL, asbn and strohnatur built this combined family-house in CUT-construction – load bearing straw bale – roof-infill-project. Info and gallery on strohnatur-project-website.
Spain: At ESBG 2023 Arch. Juan Manuel Herranz (Board member of Red de Construcción con Paja) held a presentation about the construction of arguably Spain’s largest public sector building: Day Center for Dependent People, Meliana, Valencia. Shortlisted for ‘Spanish Architectural Association Architectural Awards 2023.
Rikki Nitzkin (RCP, ES) showed us in her presentation at ESBG many more straw bale houses – casas de paja.
UK: The certified passivhouse Parc y Rhodyn in Wales was already built in 2022, designed by architects Michal Rudnicki and Huff & Puff Construction, but was a finalist in the UK passivhouse awards 2023. See more at passivhaustrust
Retrofitting and refurbishment is a big topic, also for straw bale builders. SBUK and the School of Architecture launched the Strawbale UK online event: Living Retrofitting Urbanism in April 2023. Here you can (re-)watch this event:
Slovakia: Not so many big buildings, but a lot of smaller straw bale houses, most of them in passive house quality, were introduced in ArTUR’s presentation by Zuzana Kierulfova (ArTUR, SK) during the ESBG in Denmark. Above some of the buildings built in 2023. Also the Slovakian website is worth a visit: see the database of Slovakian Straw Bale Houses
Austria: The tiny house Strohfloh in Murstetten by Arch Jury Troy (image 1) shows how sustainable construction can be realised in a straightforward way. The tiny house was built using timber frame construction with straw bale insulation. See more on holzbauaustria (in German).
austrian’s strawbale network ASBN and StrohNatur focused on STEP – Straw bale building Training for European Professionals and built and wrapped (refurbished) houses in Austria (Ysper, image 2+3, Seyring 7, Kobersdorf), the StrawHenge roundhouse with straw bale dome in Prague (3+4) and The Netherlands (see above). See StrohNatur galleries. Straw bale house 8 is by Erlinger Holzbau, 9 is a photo of FFG-project vivihouse.
In January 2023 ARTE published a documentation about one of ASBN’s load bearing straw bale houses with a reciprocal roof and the story of it’s owners (here on YouTube or below)
France: if straw construction in Europe would be a competition, France would surely be the winner. Just imagine this number! And France is not only a country with thousands of single family straw bale houses in various techniques (infill, greb, clt, load bearing,…), but with public buildings, apartment houses, museums, sports halls and much more built with straw. You get a good overview in the presentation from RFCP on the ESBG in Denmark, here are just some slides and images of larger projects, built in France in the last time. More in our database of French straw bale houses.
News from ESBA associate members
One of the largest straw bale refurbishments in Europe was started/built in 2023 with Lorenz straw panels in Oberhausen, Germany. Info: Serielles Sanieren in Kommunen, Lorenz (German). See more news on facebook.com/lorenzsysteme
Ecococon tells us on facebook, that Nomad has joined forces with IKEA to create a minimalist, eco-conscious timber-straw bungalow combined with IKEA’s design-led aesthetic and comfort. The cabins include Ecococon’s straw wall system. Ecococon houses are built in whole Europe, many of them in passivhaus quality. See more news on facebook.com/EcoCoconEU/
Lithuanian straw panel producer Laurynas Marcinkus from Modulina is quite busy supporting the actions of the Rebuilding Ukrainian Cities Green Initiative with straw bale houses. The Ukrainian organisation FIABCI is also supported by ESBA (namely board members Cypren Edmunds and Mike Deveria). Besides that the latest news from Modulina can be found on their website: www.modulina.lt/en/#info-en