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 it’s surrounded by a native vegetation garden.
For this project, we put our heads together with Audrey Ruland from the Ruland Design Group 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.
One of the highlights of this project 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.