straw house by a15 follows alternative construction methods
The a15 architectural community and designer Michael Reichegger demolish the lightweight construction of a prefabricated house to build a two-story structure using straw bales. Erected in 1976 in South Tyrol, Italythe condition of the existing home makes a complete renewal unattainable giving rise to the complete dismantling of the armor, conserving only the basement. The new two levels home it sits directly on the trace of the lower structure rebuilding most of its form.
Aiming for eco-design that conserves resources, the project combines straw bales with wood to compose the frame. Straw as a building material provides an alternative approach to achieving high-quality planning in the areas of fire protection, moisture, pest infestation, acoustics, thermal insulation, and environmental compatibility. No contaminants, toxins or hazardous waste are produced from the production of the material, through the construction of the frame to a possible conversion or demolition.
all images by Samuel Holzner
ecological and sustainable structure forms a thatched house in Tyrol
The bales are stacked on top of each other and plastered inside and out to form the main volume of the house. The 1.20 m thick outer walls made of large bales of straw, wood and trass plaster, lime and clay ensure excellent thermal insulation, heat storage, room acoustics and a pleasant room climate. The false ceiling is made of solid wood, while the floor covering is executed as an exposed screed on the ground floor and a solid white fir wood floor is placed on the upper floor. The materials used for the new building should be able to return to the natural cycle in the future without any problem. The new construction consumes very little energy and heating costs.
The south façade of the residential building is fully glazed and guarantees a high level of solar heat input. Thatched walls and roofs provide excellent insulation and sufficient heating in winter. A small stove is installed on the ground floor for persistent adverse weather conditions. To further increase the degree of self-sufficiency, a photovoltaic system is also installed on the roof, which covers the annual average electricity consumption. Natural precipitation is temporarily stored in the rainwater tank and used to irrigate the garden and outdoor facilities. In order to allow as much rainwater as possible to seep directly into the property, no other sealed areas are used except the roofs of the buildings, the driveway, as well as the car parking lots, which are provided with a gravel surface. . ‘The thatched house is now one of about 15 existing thatched houses in South Tyrol’comments the design group, ‘with already thousands of thatched houses in Europe, and the trend is increasing’.