The Girls Scouts hired us to work with them to build two small straw bale buildings for their Julian campus (Camp Winacka) which is located in a beautiful, mountainous area of San Diego County. The smaller of the two buildings is a reception center with an office/meeting area and two bathrooms. The second building is an environmental education center. It has wrap-around counters and table space, a large porch, and will be surrounded by a native vegetation garden.
We are particularly excited about these buildings because they represent a step forward in our quest for simple, efficient straw bale design. We have worked with the designer on a number of projects. For this project, we put our heads together early on in the design process and streamlined some of the straw bale details. The result is a building that is easy to build, uses a minimum of lumber, and makes stacking bales a delight — all of which brings down the cost of the building. Our hope is to help others apply these building principles to produce affordable, efficient, low-impact, charming and inspiring straw bale buildings.
It is also gratifying to work with an organization like the Girl Scouts that provides meaningful opportunities for girls and their families. One of the highlights was teaching a small group of girls how to stack bales. It was delightful to watch them master the technique in a matter of hours, never doubting themselves or their abilities.
architect /designer: Audrey Ruland, Ruland Design Group
general contractor: Todd Anderson, TWA Construction
straw & plaster: Simple Construct