Strawtron Drawings: Straw Bale Timber Frame House Sneak Peak

by ziggy on October 22, 2011 -- 5 comments -- Follow

Strawtron 3D-1

The Strawtron timber frame plans! (SE corner view)


I’ve been exchanging many emails with Tom Cundiff over the past month or so about the timber frame plans and drawings for Strawtron, our new house. I’m excited to now show off these great 3D drawings that he has come up with!

Here’s the lowdown on the new house design…

Strawtron is a passive solar, straw bale-insulated house with a timber frame, greenhouse for passive heat and extended living space, screened-in north porch with mud room, and 1/2 story loft with a west-facing balcony.

  • Building elements: straw bale insulation, timber frame with local wood, concrete pier foundation, living roof, earthen and lime plasters, light clay straw interior wall
  • Interior living area rough dimensions are 13’x24′ (about 300 square feet, east end of house is rounded)
  • Greenhouse is planned to be about 10’x14′ — serves as heat source, additional living space with solar shower, sink, etc., & space for growing lovely things
  • Spiral staircase leads up to lofted story above main living space, with a walk out to 6 ft. deep balcony on the west
  • Sheltered work area under balcony on west
  • North porch is screened in, with bed platform for summer sleeping, and walled-in mud room
  • Storage area above porch (or additional sleeping space for guests?)
  • Heat to be provided by small wood stove (Morso 1410 stove initially), with possible plans for small masonry heater
Strawtron 3D-3

The NW corner view

The timber frame is somewhat reminiscent of a saltbox design, with a longer roof line on the northern side. The bedroom has an interesting radiating roof structure. The sills are supported by concrete piers, and the raised platform will be insulated with straw, or wool (but probably straw). The frame is quite compact, and will feature a number of round and live edge elements. The curved eastern wall will be made up of whole black locust posts, for example.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled to see the house design more of a reality now. The next step is to do the foundation (hopefully within the next two weeks!), and start sourcing timbers.

Check out my Strawtron photo album for a few more images. (Check them out full size for better quality, by the way.)

p.s. Check back in the coming weeks to learn how you can help build this house through our timber framing workshop, and our straw bale building workshop.

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  • Looks great Ziggy! I would go without a living roof for rainwater collection, but that is just a personal preference. You are an inspiration for all natural builders (and wannabes like me).

  • Dan

    Very impressive looking! I look forward to reading of the progress

    Are you going to have your local wood milled by machine or is this all going to be by hand?

  • Dan

    Forgot to also mention, make sure to consider shear strength for the concrete piers (especially if they’re not very low to the ground)

  • SoCo Gal

    I just found this website and drawings and my husband and I are laughing b/c your plans are almost exactly the layout of the straw bale (post & beam) house we are building.

    GTMA! Best of luck in your build

  • I’d love to see your drawings! Are they up somewhere?

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