Sven Johnston
Principal Tutor


Sarah Johnston
Principal Tutor



Blue Forsyth
Guest Tutor


Liam Flannery
Guest Tutor



7-Day Intensive Straw Bale Design & Construction Workshops


Struan Farm
Geraldine, South Canterbury
New Zealand

Duration: 7 Days

Is provided, dormitory style, unless otherwise stated. You will share a room with other workshop participants.

Are provided, please advise of any special dietary requirements.

How to register:
Complete our registration form

(includes meals & accommodation)

Payment Options
Cheque payable to 'Workshop'
Direct Deposit to 'Workshop' 03 0839 0114900 002

Cancellation Policy:
All refunds will require a 25% processing fee. A 75% refund will be given for cancellations received in writing. No show will not receive a refund. 

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Theory & Practical Hands-on Workshop

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. There will be an introduction to the art and science of straw bale building, the many techniques and components of a wall system as well as design considerations.

During the week, you will build a straw bale landscape wall or small building.  You will gain experience in both post and beam as well as hybrid building systems, discuss and then apply earth and lime plasters. We will inform you of the NZ Standards and Codes that you will have to meet, give suggestions on approaching and working with your local Council and describe methods with which to get your project a building consent. During the week we will also tour local straw bale homes and enjoy evening slide shows & presentations. 

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

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Workshop Topics

  • 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

 “Opened my mind to infinite possibilities of creativity in our home
and also empowered both of us in building & plastering skills…”

- Homeowner, 2010 Workshop Participant


Accommodation & Meals

Learning and living together during this workshop provides a unique atmosphere for all participants.  Great conversations and continued learning occur over shared meals and times outside of 'class' time.  We encourage all participants to take advantage of this opportunity to live & learn at Struan Farm for the week.

Struan Farm, 7kms north of Geraldine, is where you will call home for this 7-day workshop.  With the Four Peaks as it’s backdrop, this 18-acre haven borders the Orari River and is full of bird song and growing native plantings.  The dormitory style accommodation will be provided on a first come, first serve basis.  Linens & pillows are provided.  Tent sites are available for campers.  Campers will be able to utilize the shower & toilet facilities on-site, but will need to bring all camping equipment.

Three hearty meals per day + morning, afternoon tea & supper will be available for all registered participants.  Vegetarian meals are available if requested.  Our hosts at Struan Farm, Drew & Sally Brown, raise belted galloway cattle. These happy cows provide food for the family as well as the workshop pariticipants. Struan Farm grows and produce quite a bit of their own food without the use of fertilizers and/or chemicals. We do find that past participants have selected vegetarian meals because of the uncertainty of where the food comes from, however, if you are happy with homegrown beef, please just note that in the comments section of the registration form.   If you are vegan or have specific meal needs, there are facilities available for your use to prepare your own meals.  Please contact us for further details. 

  “If you want to learn the basics of best practice natural, straw bale and get the nitty gritty
of how it’s done with earth & lime plasters, this is the course for you".

- Builder, 2010 Workshop Participant 

Register for this workshop by completing our enrolment form on-line...  Register 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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