Strawbale Building in New Mexico
Building with Straw Workshop
This 6-and-half day workshop will be hosted in Kingston, New Mexico, where students will participate in building a 350sqft strawbale structure on our friends Mike and Rachel’s property. Kingston is a small mountain town near the Gila National Forest and is a natural building hub with many residents having built strawbale homes. The Black Range Lodge in Kingston was the site of the first Natural Building Colloquium in the Southwest.
This workshop will teach our unique hybrid system of integrating straw bale walls with clay and lime plasters. It combines the best of what were called “load-bearing” walls and other “in-fill” methods where different types of structural supports are used. It is a very effective and practical utilization of the best of both worlds. At the same time, the same components can be utilized in combination with any “in-fill” wall system. It is highly flexible in all respects.
This course is intended for anyone considering a straw bale house that incorporates a large percentage of clay in the building process. The course is well suited to beginners but also owner-builders, professionals or those who would like to supervise the construction of their home so that they can be well informed to make good decisions during the design and build process. The course will help each person define a practical and realistic approach that is uniquely based on his or her skill level, available time and resources. Participants are welcome to bring their floor plans for group design discussions and comments.
We encourage small, handcrafted and artistic buildings that are uniquely personal in character and at the same time, energy efficient and matched to local climatic conditions primarily through passive conditioning.
For examples see our many strawbale buildings at Canelo.
The workshop and strawbale build on-site at Kingston, New Mexico.
- Meals: Lunches, coffee and tea are provided and served on site. Note – Dining options in Kingston are somewhat limited, the closest restaurants are 9 miles away in Hillsboro
- Accommodations: Only off-site options available. There is Forest Service camping and the Black Range Lodge in Kingston. The lodge provides breakfast and access to their kitchen for cooking meals.
- Getting there: The closest airport is Las Cruces, 1hr 30min away. Alternatively larger airports are in El Paso, 2hrs away, and Albuquerque, 2hrs and 45mins away.
A 50% deposit is due once you register to secure your spot in the workshop.
- Bale Basics: Where to locate bales, How to modify bales, How to Measure bales.
- Discussion of various Bale Building Systems, from Load-Bearing to In-fill and Hybrid.
- Compression Test: Figure out how much bales will compress to get measurements for Window and Door bucks as well as for bamboo pinning.
- Layout & building of foundations
- Framing – box beams and window & door bucks
- Mount Window and Door Bucks.
- Stack Bale walls and learn corner tying knot.
- Continue bale stacking
- Cut Bamboo pins and tie them onto surface of bale walls.
- Discuss top plate and place on top of bale walls.
- Compression using threaded rods.
- Roofing & trusses
- Clay Basics: How to Identify clay, Where to find clay
- Making base coat / sculpting plaster coat that can go on as thick as needed over bales.
- Electricity and outlets
- Window Details
- Plaster bales with clay base coat.
- Install windows
- Half day – workshop finishes at 12:30