Building a Straw Bale House

The Red Feather Construction Handbook

Nathaniel Corum

     6 × 8.25 in (15.2 × 21.0 cm)
192 pages
80 color illustrations, 60 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 10/1/2005
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568985145

"This book is a timely and important tool for the empowerment of communities facing housing deficits. The Red Feather project is extremely important; it is truly making a difference."--Jane Goodall

For more than a decade the Red Feather Development Group, a volunteer-based organization, has built and repaired straw bale houses for Native Americans. Somewhere along the way--and this was certainly not the plan--they created an architectural phenomenon: This inexpensive, environmentally sound, easily constructed, and downright beautiful form of building has, for good reason, caught the public's imagination. Here, Red Feather provides a step-by-step, easy-to-follow manual for would-be straw-bale builders--indeed, they supply everything you'll need but time, energy, and lots and lots of straw. Informative sections on safety, design, tools, and materials, and case studies picked from over thirty-five Red Feather projects give a comprehensive overview to straw-bale building.

But this book is much more than a construction manual. It is also the inspiring story of Red Feather itself, a tale of community action and cooperation that suggests a can-do solution to the growing housing crisis on America's Native American reservations.

Nathaniel Corum is community design director for Red Feather Development Group. Previously a Fulbright Scholar in North Africa, he studied design at Stanford University and has a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Reader Comments

More Than Just a Handbook (rating 5 out of 5):
When Red Feather Development Group founded in 1994, its mission was to build and develop affordable and ecological sound straw bail houses for the American Indian community. In recent years, the work of the Red Feather Development Group has drawn interest as many environmental and green building groups have developed. Due to the increase of interest, the group has released "Building a Straw Bale House: The Red Feather Construction Handbook". The handbook is a great guide for anybody wanting to better understand the principles of straw bale construction. With step-by-step construction directions and wonderful illustrations, "Building a Straw Bale House" makes the topic approachable and simple to create similar versions of the building technique. For example, the author provides the reader/builder with numeral step-by-step instructions for constructing the foundation, the correct mix for the interior finish coat, and radiant floor heating diagrams. Everything that may need to be known for constructing a straw house is available in its book, which that in itself is notable. "Building a Straw Bale House" succeeds in bringing an interesting construction type into the limelight, but the principle of its origin is even more admirable - providing affordable and sustainable housing to individuals.
- Stan from Cleveland, Ohio (02/26/2006)

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