Weekend Workshop Series in 2017


New to 2017, we will be running a series of short weekend workshops in addition to our 7-day intensive straw bale workshop. These workshops will be an opportunity to broaden knowledge and experience working with a variety of natural materials. These practical and theoretical workshops will focus on the following:

Strawbale Workshop: Are you interested in straw bale construction but not ready for a 7-day intensive workshop? This weekend workshop will soley focus on the details around the use of strawbales in our buildings. We will discuss the variety of structural systems and how the bales integrate within that structure, understand what makes a good building bale, how to build a good bale wall and the general preparations required for cladding. During this weekend workshop, you will get your hands on the bales in the creation of some walls. We will also give you some tools and suggestions on how to work with the New Zealand Territorial Authorities. $390.00NZD Registration

Earth Plaster Workshop: This workshop will give you a solid understanding of the ingredients of a good earthen plaster (base and finish coats), how to test your soil for clay content, how to prepare the plaster ingredients, how to mix, then apply the plaster to a well prepared wall. By using the tools of the trade you will gain an understanding on what surfaces you can apply earthen plasters too. And from the design side of things, you will discuss appropriate design guidelines to follow for the use of earthen plasters in both exterior and interior envionnments. $390.00NZD Registration

Lime Plaster Workshop: This workshop will focus specifically on lime plasters. Understand the lime cycle, the advantages of using lime as a plaster cladding, what design considerations to factor in, how to create a good putty and plaster mix as well as apply the lime plaster to a variety of surfaces. As you begin to work with the plaster you will start to gain an understanding of the beauty and advantages of lime plaster. $390.00NZD Registration

Rocket Stove Heating & Cooking Workshop: There is a growing interest in heating and cooking by the use of a rocket stove. A rocket stove is a type of masonry heater. A masonry heater is design to burn fuel quickly, creating a low emission, almost smokefree fire. The intense heat which is created is then transferred to a cooking surface or stored in thermal mass. If the heat is stored in thermal mass, the heat will slowly radiate into your interior space eliminating the temperature spikes commonly experienced with conventional 'eco' rated log burners. Masonry heatiers are gaining popularity in New Zealand. 

During the course of this workshop, we will discuss the history of rocket stoves, their benefits, how and why they work, then we will build a rocket stove. This practical workshop will give you an understanding on how to design a stove, what materials to use in order to create a stove that can heat a space and/or cook your meals. $225.00NZD Registration

Earthen Floor Workshop: Have you ever seen a floor which encourages you to want to take off your shoes just to be able to feel it underfoot? You will learn how to prepare for and construct a durable, beautiful floor from the most basic natural materials. During this workshop you will install an earthen floor from the start to finish so that you can go away with the confidence to install and finish your own floor.  $225.00NZD Registration

Weekend Workshop Logistics: These short weekend workshops will run from 9:00am-4:00pm each day. The registration fee also includes acommodation for 1 night at Struan Farm plus all meals (1-breakfast, 2-lunch, 1-dinner & 2-morning and afternoon teas).  On our registration form you have the option to select your meal preference. If you require either an extra nights stay and/or additional meals, please get in contact with us and we can discuss these options with you. 

See the 'Register for Workshops' tab on this website for the cost of each of the short courses. Please note our cancellation policy for all of our workshops. Upon completing your registration form and making your 50% deposit to secure you place, you will recieve a tool and material list from us as well as specific information about the workshop(s). 

What is Straw Bale Construction?

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Straw-bale construction uses conventional small bales of straw (commonly wheat, barley, rye and oat straw) as structural elements, insulation or both. 

5 reasons why to consider a straw bale building:

  1. Energy efficient
  2. Sustainable & environmental (ECO-friendly)
  3. Safe in fires and earthquakes
  4. Friendly for homeowner builders 
  5. Warm in the winter and cool in the summer 


7-Day Intensive Straw Bale Design & Construction Workshops

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Our week-long straw bale design and construction workshops are a blend of both theory (classroom) and practical (hands-on) experience.  Your tutors will guide you through each step of the building process, from foundations to finish work.

Come prepared to learn a lot and gain some hands-on experience
designing and building straw bale wall systems:

  • Site Analysis
  • Design Considerations
  • Wall Systems
  • Foundation & Roof Options
  • Moisture & Building Science
  • Weathertightness Details
  • Plaster Systems
  • Building Codes
  • Insurance & Financing
  • Healthy & Creative Building Material Use
  • Lessons Learned
  • House Tours
Register for this workshop by completing our enrolment form on-line... 


Workshops & Lectures

Whether you are a homeowner builder or a seasoned builder, learn the art and science of straw bale design and construction..
Register on-line... 

Straw bale homes

From conceptual design through to the construction process, we will guide you in creating the straw bale home you always wanted. View our portfolio...

Our Work

We love simple design solutions.  We find that they are beautiful when combined with the use of natural materials.
Learn about our process... 

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