063 - Straw Bale Cabin

Riccardo Davide Zerbinati

Druento, Italy



This is the project for a cabin with a ground footprint of 15.99 sm (172.11 sf) and a living area of 10.48 sm (112.8 sf) built with straw bales (35x45x90 cm) and wood. The design module is based on the size of the bale near to the wooden post that makes up the structure.

This little shelter, would allow the occupants to meet all their needs, without going elsewhere to fulfill different needs including eat and bodycare. The building consists on two floors; The ground floor host the service area: a small living room with small kitchen, dining space (with woodstove and timber stock space) and the bathroom. The first floor, accessible by a floor hole in the first roof, connected by an internal wood staircase that host the bedroom and two single beds.

This building is quite tall and it was decided to make the structure in fir wood so as to give more stability. Wall occupies a large part of the cabin area, for this reason, being a high-performance material, straw, is side-placed inside the envelope, and turns out to be less than 40 centimeters thick. Outside this is covered by a metal corrugated sheet metal, which is able to reflect the surrounding context trying to camouflage this small building in the most gentle manner. Inside, a layer of OSB nailed to the wooden post serves to confer greater rigidity; in turn this will be plastered. The opaque envelope packages are designed to have a very high performance / convenience ratio.

The openings are in polycarbonate, to keep costs down and have a high-performance and be able to takle with the cold winter weather. To increase the rigidity and the stability of the bedroom floor, it was decided to put on the intermediate straw bale course, a board beam that distributes this loads to the vertical elements.

Metallic material, after a sourronding area survey, could come from nearby areas as super-used materials as scraps of other productive activities recovered before they become waste. Where this is not possible it plans by using recycled metal that would help to keep a slow as possible the amount of embodied energy used in this fabrication.

Although the soil does not have flooding problems it was decided, for less soil use, to set up the cabin on four recycled metal posts. With this choice we do not need any concrete foundation works. In addition the materials used for construction, including steel, are fully recyclable and reusable; in this way this area at the end of building life, could be fully restored to its origin state.

Users' choice: ground floor could also be set up as bedroom to increase the maximum number of guests that this could contain to the detriment of the service in the same living space-convenience.

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