Building a Straw Bale House
'This book is a timely and important tool for the empowerment of communities facing housing deficits. The Red Feather project is extremely important; it is truly making a difference.' Jane Goodall
For more than a decade the Red Feather Development Group, a volunteer-based organization, has built and repaired straw bale houses for Native Americans. Somewhere along the way and this was certainly not the plan they created an architectural phenomenon: This inexpensive, environmentally sound, easily constructed, and downright beautiful form of building has, for good reason, caught the public's imagination. Here, Red Feather provides a step-by-step, easy-to-follow manual for would-be strawbale builders indeed, they supply everything you'll need but time, energy, and lots and lots of straw. Informative sections on safety, design, tools, and materials, and case studies picked from over thirty-five Red Feather projects give a comprehensive overview to straw-bale building.
But this book is much more than a construction manual. It is also the inspiring story of Red Feather itself, a tale of community action and cooperation that suggests a can-do solution to the growing housing crisis on America's Native American reservations.
The Red Feather group are very active self promoters with high profile connections and alliances. Founder Robert Young has appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and was the recipient of Oprah's Angel Network's "Use Your Life Award". This is a documentary about the group that is narrated by Robert Redford. The rock group Pearl Jam has brought awareness of the group to the music community. The book includes instructions that everyone can follow to build their own house. The Red Feather group publish a bi-annual colour magazine. The popularity of straw bale construction is on the rise and it is easy to see why. It is affordable, environmentally sound and an ideal construction technique for those seeking quality housing you can build and maintain yourself. The best examples of straw bale construction can be found in houses built on poverty-stricken American Indian reservations by the award-winning Red Feather Development Group. Through years of research followed by the successful completion of over thirty-five housing and community based building projects, Red Feather has arrived at a straw bale construction prototype that reflects the needs of the communities with whom they work.
This is accomplished by acknowledging the various skills and needs of tribal members, owner/builders, and contractors. This book shows how, with the help of numerous volunteers and neighbours, the houses are constructed step-by-step, bale-by-bale from initial site selection to finished product in just over a month.