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Re: Straw House structural values

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You should contact Bruce King (ecobruce(--nospam--at) His organization, the Ecological Building Network (, is about to undertake a major study of the structural behavior of strawbale construction. Some seismic testing has already been performed. Bruce may be able to suggest design standards and test results that would be helpful in your design. He has written a book on the subject, "Buildings of Earth and Straw, Structural Design for Rammed Earth and Straw-Bale Architecture," which I am certain would be a good investment if you are designing a strawbale structure.

Mark D. Webster
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
297 Broadway
Arlington, MA  02474

From: "Glenn Otto" <glenn(--nospam--at)>
Reply-To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Subject: Straw House structural values
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2001 10:09:04 -0500

I am designing a house made out of straw.  I was wondering if ICBO has done
any testing on these structures. What kind of clay is best to use? Is there a minimum amount of straw required? What kind of diaphragm shear values are
obtainable?  I was thinking of using clay for the foundation but then I
thought sand might have better drainage properties.  What kind of
waterproofing and fireproofing is good?  The fee is real small on this one,
so I don?t want to spend too much time on calcs.


Glenn C. Otto, PE
Virginia Beach, VA

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