The Straw House consists of three lightweight glass compartments that are insulated from wind and rain by the strategic build up of bound straw bales. Each compartment is designed to accommodate a specific program: eating/relaxing, sleeping and bathing. The occupant navigates between these spaces via corridors built up from the straw.
The juxtaposition of the two materials – one industrial and the other representing a storied agrarian history and pastoral visage – heightening the occupant’s tactile sensibilities as s/he navigates between the rich rawness of the hay and the clean surfaces of the glass compartments.
The experience within Straw Room is one of quiet and calm. Hay is an incredibly effective acoustic buffer as well as being five times more insulative than traditional brick veneer wall construction. Bales are strategically arranged so as to open up sweeping views, yet the density of the bales create spaces that are sheltered and enveloping.
The space within the lodging is labyrinthine, but at the intimate scale of the body, and the corridors linking the living compartments are embracing and secure. While all operable components (doors, windows, etc. are prefabricated as part of the glass program boxes, nooks for storage and appliances are excavated by removing bales from more massive wall assemblies. Each glass compartment is equipped with a hollow footing with hook-ups for amenities. Due to the great insulative quality of the straw, heating the space will require very little energy.
Project Date: 2010
Project Location: London, England
Project Team: Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Emily Licht