Building Technology
The Old New Building Methods
Back in the old days people used to build their houses using a mixture of straw and clay, either in molds or manually.

This method has proved environmentally friendly and energy efficient.

I was surprised to see this method being adopted in our days.

Walid Yousif
The Old New Building Methods
I've been studying straw bale construction for at least four years now, and I'm not surprised these are becoming so popular. They have many advantages if built in a suitable environment, and only a few drawbacks.

I would like to have seen someone building straw bales houses to replace those lost in Kashmir, Iran, and Afghanistan because of the earthquakes, but was unable to reach anyone in authority to discuss this possibility. At least 50 have been built in one project in Iraq, many in Mongolia, and 600+ in Northern China.
Those of us who follow this lost count of the number of straw bale buildings when the total of new structures went over about 5,000 or so several years ago.
Straw bale construction is ideal for do-it-yourself construction/ vernacular architecture, and also for high-end commercial construction.
As far as I know, the largest SB building so far is the 35,000 sq. ft Didimala Game Lodge in South Africa.

Although people have built SB houses in the drier parts of Florida, USA, I would generally not advise building these in any place that's very humid and warm, especially if the land is prone to flooding from monsoons.
So parts of India and much of south Asia would be better served by the type of rammed earth or bamboo construction that has served them sell for thousands of years.
Chris Green


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