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Small Project Awards: Straw Bale Cabin

Last Friday I attended the Small Project Awards, a reception hosted by the AIA Chicago Small Practitioners Group. The fourth annual awards program celebrates projects both built and un-built that have been designed by firms with 9 or fewer licensed architects. The evening strives to highlight small practitioners within the architecture industry. Featured here is one of our favorites of the 96 entries, a Straw Bale Cabin submitted by Laura Garcia Design. Sustainability and energy efficiency were two of the top priorities for this cabin, which will be situated on a bluff in Wisconsin. The important environmental aspects led the clients to straw bale construction, which is an incredibly sustainable building method. The 18” thick walls are comprised of straw bales stacked in a running bond (brick) pattern. The walls sit on a wood platform that floats above the sloped landscape, supported on stilts. Both the interior and exterior wall surfaces are finished with a 3-coat lime plaster, making the construction inherently fireproof with very high thermal and sound insulation values. In addition to the straw bale walls, the cabin also takes advantage of passive solar design principles to maximize heat gain in the cold months and minimize it in the warm months. This sustainable cabin will provide a low carbon footprint getaway for its owners for years to come!

Photo Credits: Laura Garcia Design

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