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Oldest Straw Bale House in Europe For Sale in France

From Christine Durand, our correspondent in France, who has turned us on to much good material:
Bonjour Lloyd !
The oldest known straw bale house in Europe is for sale !
   The ''Maison Feuillette'' was built in 1921 by Feuillette, an engineer who was looking for solutions to construction problems. The house - still inhabited and perfectly preserved - is acknowledged globally as a unique, innovative and exemplary building:
-timber frame structure with straw bale infill - modular construction, lending to pre-fabrication
-use of varying local materials.
  Despite certain features of its era (single glazing in particular), the house presents energy efficiency standards equivalent to the 2005 french ones!
   All good reasons why the RFCP (French straw bale building network) launched an international campaign to save the house. ''This building proves the durability of straw bale construction and it is a precious tool to give weight to recent straw bale construction building code'," the network says.
   No doubt about that!
   More (in english) : https://sites.google.com/a/compaillons.eu/feuillette-house/Le-projet-Maison-Feuillette
Amicalement,
  Christine

7 comment s:

Anonymous said...

can someone tell me, doesn't straw bale house "type" attract mice and bugs and other vermin? would've thought so.

Anonymous said...

I've been living in a 17 year old strawbale house for 7 years and can say I've never seen a mouse in our house. The walls - made of tightly packed straw bales and covered with 1 1/2" of plaster - don't leave any niches for mice/bugs to thrive. I'd be way more worried about stick frame walls as I've seen mouse nests inside of stick framed walls, which offer way more opportunities for critters to thrive.

The common thought to keeping a strawbale house in good shape and from rotting is to keep the walls dry (our house has 3' overhangs to keep snow/water off). Which makes me wonder about that house in France how they've managed for so long, with very small overhangs and vines growing on the walls, which I would think would bring moisture with the leaves transpiring. Personally, if I was going to buy that house, I'd be testing those walls for moisture.
Craig.

Anonymous said...

according to experienced straw bale builders there is no risk if dry and high quality straw, without any grain, and tightly packed bales are used. It needs also proper construction : rendered walls, sealed at top and bottom. Yet on french forum's web sites, some builders seem to have real problems with mice and vermin. Unknown cause.
About the Feuillette House : lime render outside, gypsum plaster inside.
In the event of successful purchase, the Network wants to set up some data-loggers in the walls to detect the flux of heat and humidity. They aim to further the understanding of the performance of this kind of building. The house is situated in wet climate. May be, it could be studied with the 100-years old straw-bale houses in Nebraska.
Christine

Anonymous said...

thank you for info on mice, etc.. i see the logic of the tight packing..but.. would still likely worry me..

Cassie K said...

I would totally buy that; unfortunately, I have no money, so I have to build my own straw-bale home. :)

Anonymous said...

Regarding the straw, it is straw and not an edible grass like hay or an edible cereal like wheat. Not attractive to mice or insects as a food source. If not tightly compacted and the straw is open to entry, then maybe the mice or insects could find a home. As with any home, proper construction, inspection and maintenance are key.

Anonymous said...

explanations..ah.. thank you. i guess too, since straw is hollow, it may add to the insulation value? or does it get compacted too much with the tight compaction?

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