[Image: Rendering of the BaleHaus]
As you may have realized – we here at MNP are into straw bale construction, and enjoy being able to bring you interesting/innovative examples of the construction method being put to work. Here we have featured a project by ModCell called the BaleHaus – a proposed straw bale home that the company describes as a ‘domestic carbon bank’, a house that stores carbon credits because of its being built from renewable materials [straw and timber], in addition to other integrated sustainable technologies.
[Image: Exploded axon of the BaleHaus]
Interesting about the ModCell project is that it appears to be set up for mass production – and the company even has plans for a Balehaus-based eco-community. The pre-fab kit of parts that ModCell has created could possibly make for the creation an interesting development – and even if the homes are all the same, the idea of uniformity for nature’s sake [not just for $ - let's face it, new developments in the US are typically awful - and NOT 'green'] is an interesting one.
[Image:ModCell straw bale panels]
[Image: perspective of proposed BaleHaus community]
While environmentally friendly, the project raises what I feel is an ever-increasingly important issue in green design: why does it have to look like that? Now, I understand that aesthetics are subjective, and we could debate the value of having green homes VS having innovative design solutions – but at the end of the day we’ll just be talking about a project like this one proposed by ModCell the same way we talk about current suburban developments, green or no green. Straw bale construction in particular seems to fall into the ‘it’s green so it’s good’ trap [some projects excluded], which is just ridiculous since the projects are typically constructed with prefabricated elements that could be built to any number of specifications [in short, prefab is ill lately- why isn't this?]. All that being said, the idea of building an entire development using this construction method is interesting for it’s PR capabilities, advertising it as a valid and green alternative to what might be considered more standard building materials [really though, that's all the more reason to make the houses look nice].
[Image: plan of proposed BaleHaus community]