ModCell : BaleHaus Straw Bale Construction


[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]

::Press Release + details, via ModCell::

::more straw bale construction at Green.MNP::

Posted: December 11th, 2007
at 8:00am by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,pre-fab,green arch,housing,tech

Comments: 3 comments


3 Responses to 'ModCell : BaleHaus Straw Bale Construction'

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  1. architecture mass production = disaster.
    over the summer at grassroots in DC the AIAS national past-president Jonathan Bahe, said, “I would argue that there is no such thing as green design, just good design.” I agree with that. Architects are always thinking about what construction methods are going to make a green project and although that is important they neglect the basics. What is the sun doing with light, or heat, or what have you? Developments and site planning like this cannot deal with basic issues affectivly. A row of houses is simple, but most not effecient I’m sure.

    the Balehaus project should probably be renamed to project (wannabe) trendy.

    although, I repsect the exploded axon.

    besides mass producing anything turns something that was architecture into a building.

    Mark Anthony

    11 Dec 07 at 8:53 pm


  2. You know, I’m not sure I agree. I think that mass production is great – it can reduce costs, it can simplify the work so as to cause less mistakes, and make the job more accessible to a larger workforce, there are the green/sustainable aspects of building in a controlled environment where there is little waste – etc etc

    I think the problem is more with sustainable design itself, as you said – ‘green’ design isn’t an architectural style, it’s just what SHOULD BE done [which is a more and more popular/common view]. But until that’s widely excepted, and we stop acknowledging all this kind-of-crappy projects just for being green, its going to continue to be this way.


    12 Dec 07 at 1:27 am


  3. Less than 10% of homes are individually designed, thus we need to build into a product some defined Green benifits, without excessive costs to the end user.
    At BaleHaus we hope the dimensions of the bale get priority over most other aspects of the construction ( the big issue with individually designed one off projects relating to end cost). Row houses are here to stay, high density living, True Green Row housing hardly started.

    regards Lance Kairl
    |South Australia.

    Lance Kairl

    23 Feb 08 at 5:38 pm



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