Putting straw on the public building map: the UP STRAW 2020 Yearbook

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UP STRAW 2020 Yearbook

Eileen Sutherland shares highlights from the UP STRAW 2020 Yearbook, as this pioneering pan-European project putting straw on the public and urban building map enters its final phases this spring and summer.

The Interreg-funded UP STRAW project began in 2017 and, during this time, there have been many significant achievements, including five new public buildings built using straw and other natural materials. The theme of this Yearbook is ‘public investment in straw building’ and we hope it will inform and inspire you about the many applications of straw as a natural building material for a wide range of public buildings. You can view the Yearbook here.

Hastings Visitor Centre (UK)

The ‘Bale House’ is the new visitor centre in Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve and is a spectacular building in an equally spectacular setting. Pandemic restrictions allowing, it is hoped to officially open the centre in 2021.

De Roomley Sports Hall (NL)

This is the largest renovation using Dutch straw and an innovative blown-in straw technique enabled the sports hall to remain open while the insulative cladding was applied.

Centre National de la Construction Paille (FR)

This is an extension to the straw house in Montargis, which is the oldest straw and wooden construction in the world. Built in 1920, it is a symbol of the durability of this construction technique.

Snippet from the UP STRAW 2020 Yearbook

Benedictine Abbey Plankstetten (DE)

Monks build the largest straw building in southern Germany, using straw and wood from their own fields and forests. This multi-purpose building will house guest accommodation, parish administration and a kindergarten.

Cluster Eco-construction Office (BE)

This purpose-built straw and timber office accommodation was designed and built using public procurement procedures, which demonstrates a sustainable future for many public buildings.

Other project outcomes covered in this Yearbook include:

  • Building Information Modelling: improving the production and management of digital information in construction
  • Zotero Library: more than 400 publications dedicated to building with straw
  • Massive Open Online Course: a brand new MOOC to help you learn more about straw building
  • Life Cycle Analysis: a cradle to grave approach, which quantifies the environmental impact of construction
  • National Networks: showing the straw bale associations and networks in each partner country

We hope you enjoy reading the UP STRAW 2020 Yearbook and encourage you to forward it to colleagues and others in your networks using this link.


ESBG 2019 Todmorden as part of the UPStraw projectAbout the author: The School of Natural Building is a partner in the Interreg funded UP STRAW project, which is increasing awareness of public building with straw across North West Europe. Learn more about the project on the here.