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The Straw Bale House, known also as The House of Straw, was the concept, design and accomplishment of Sarah Wigglesworth and her partner Jeremy Till. The idea was to create a modern urban working and living environment discovering solutions to both eco-f

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Introduction

14th November 2009 CANTERBURY SCHOOL of ARCHITECTURE 2009-10 Cultural Context 1: House CARC 1017 Essay Assignment - Ajay Singh Sihra; 0653286 Word Count (INCLUDING REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY): 1773 Word Count (EXCLUDING REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY): 1392 Subject Area: Sarah Wigglesworth & Jeremy Till, Straw Bale House (2001) The Straw Bale House, known also as The House of Straw, was the concept, design and accomplishment of Sarah Wigglesworth and her partner Jeremy Till. The idea was to create a modern urban working and living environment discovering solutions to both eco-friendliness and sustainability whilst simultaneously promoting awareness to these factors. But how eco-friendly was the build and the materials used? And now eight years after the completions just how eco-friendly and sustainable is 9 Stock Orchard Street? Before I can examine the ideas behind the design of this build it is better if you first understand the site and layout itself. Firstly the building has an L shape layout with the longer side running perpendicular to the railway line. It has a mixture of levels and combination of vernacular and modern architecture. After entering the site through the willow hurdled front gate you will find, from right to left, the railway line framed by recycled concrete gabions with an inner core of fire regulated reinforced concrete pillars. ...read more.

Middle

The straw bales were chosen as they are abundant in the UK and would have otherwise been burnt or possibly tilled back into the soil. They are a byproduct of harvested wheat, rice, barley, oats, and rye that form after being put through a baler. Compressed so much that their oxygen content is minimal and consequently making them very fire resistant as the bales ember rather than combust. Costing only one pound fifty per bale they would be cheap to replace if needs be, they have practically no embodied energy themselves but transportation make them so 7. They did not opt for the typical American way of building with straw bales as they use an expanded metal mesh to which the render is applied, instead the bales were rendered straight onto with a hydraulic lime plaster. Rendering this way allows for the bales to naturally control the humidity; this was as a result tested and verified by students from the Architectural Association. Another innovation came with the timber frame and rendered wall parts of the house as they covered the exterior without the use of mesh. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sarah insisted at an Art and Architecture lecture back in 2001 that the building was never intended to be a completely green building but to act as an exploration into eco-ideas within an urban site 11. Therefore to pass judgment on the two Architects and harvest on everything that could have accomplished a greener outcome could be classed as fastidious. Sarah and Jeremy built this as an experiment and to bring awareness to the possible materials we could use for future builds. The building having received the amount of publicity it has would surely mean that it has accomplished its charge of drawing awareness to these materials. 1 www.floornature.com/progetto.php?id=4178&sez=30 2 www.swarch.co.uk - "Projects: 9 Stock Orchard Street" 3 www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/1995/5/1/Straw-The-Next-Great-Building-Material/ - Alex Wilson 4 www.swarch.co.uk - 9/10 stock orchard street - fact file & credits - Structural Analysis document 5 http://www.archinnovations.com/featured-projects/houses/sarah-wigglesworth-architects-stock-orchard-street/ - Sarah Wigglesworth Architects - 9 Stock Orchard Street, Islington, England 6 www.swarch.co.uk - 9/10 stock orchard street - fact file & credits - Structural Analysis document 7 www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/1995/5/1/Straw-The-Next-Great-Building-Material/ - Alex Wilson 8 www.swarch.co.uk - 9/10 stock orchard street - fact file & credits - Structural Analysis document 9 http://www.heraklith.com/ - "About Wood Wool" 10 http://www.ebuild.com - Biggreen Archives, Polycarbonate 11 http://www.artandarchitecture.co.uk/news-fmSarahWigg. ...read more.

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