The straw bale architecture village (Pod 2) is the second of seven different sustainable village models. The Straw Bale Village was chosen as the second village to be built because it demonstrates modularly expandable sustainable housing and a focus on family-based social spaces. It depicts the straw bale method of construction along with many eco-artistic external and functional internal options. We discuss them all with the following sections:
The Straw Bale Village consists of fifty-two 250-300 square foot (23-28 sq meters) studio-style rooms, each with an attached bathroom. They are arranged in groups of 4 that can easily be connected and or converted to create multi-room units. This village model also includes 11 common areas: a kitchen and dining area capable of feeding 200+ people, computer room, meeting and conference room, children’s art and playroom, game room, outdoor playground, outdoor barbecue area, outdoor dining area, library, gym, and central social area with a gas fire pit that can be covered to provide a stage. The circular design of this pod is heating, cooling, and resource efficient with plans for the center that include fruit trees, recreation space, and water collecting and storage via the decorative waterways. The circular design helps with temperature control in the center as well as keeping animals away from the orchard. Once the earthbag village (Pod 1) is complete, this village model will provide 40 resident units and 12 visitor/guest demonstration units.
Some of the key features and intentions of the Straw Bale Village design include:
The straw bale housing teacher/demonstration community, village, and city model is purposed for open source project-launch blueprinting and building modularly expandable sustainable housing. Using the torus design we will build the first few units to completion to show what is possible on a small scale. Then we will add onto those units to demonstrate how this style of communal housing could be expanded as a community or village need for housing expands, adding additional units as necessary while simultaneously improving energy efficiency and creating a growing space protected by new units. The circular design also allows for easy modification of the internal structure at a later time to connect or separate rooms based on community resident/family needs. The Straw Bale Village model will become an option for ownership and long-term residence for the Pioneers that have been with the project from day 1. When complete, Pod 2 will be the largest straw bale construction in the world (2x the size of the current largest building) utilizing approximately 20,000 straw bales for the build.
The Advantages of straw bale construction are many:
Straw bale construction also has some limitations:
As we continue open source project-launch blueprinting the Straw Bale Village and all of its components (food production, waste repurposing, energy infrastructure, water collection and storage, etc.), build them, and problem solve and evolve them for One Community (and with others around the world) we will develop this page as the portal detailing comprehensive open source and free-shared specifics needed for do-it-yourself duplication of each component. These instruction manuals and resources will cover the following areas of this open source village model:
|What we’re working on now|
|Remote construction camp setup and maintenance|
|Building plans for all components|
|Detailed materials list and cost analysis for all components|
|Do-it-yourself multi-media resource and information hub|
|How to work with local government if permitting is needed|
|Detailed tools and equipment list, best place to buy, and cost analysis for all components|
|How to clear and prepare your site for your build|
|Detailed build-time investment needs for each component based on our building experience|
|Excavation and construction of the footer and foundation|
|Flooring setup, construction, and maintenance|
|Detailed plans for how to build custom furniture to maximize home beauty and functionality|
|Complete village plumbing design and setup|
|Window and door framing|
|Complete village electrical design and setup|
|Straw bale construction structural engineering details|
|Heating and cooling research, plans, and adaptations by us and others|
|Detailed maximally energy efficient water heating specifics|
|How to install and utilize water catchment for each structure and the whole village model|
|Plastering, sealing, and weather proofing the inside and the outside of your natural home|
|How to install and maintain internet and a WiFi network for an off-grid community/village|
|Automation, monitoring, and control systems design, setup, and data gathering and sharing|
|How to make your build easier than ours and how to solve any problems we encountered in our build|
|Complete and on-going maintenance and upkeep details per our experience with all village components|
|Village eco-laundry design, setup, and maintenance|
|List of everyone who helped us design and build this so they can be contacted to help with modifications|
|Archive and database of others building similar structures including their experiences, adaptations, etc.|
|Comprehensive remote-village-construction emergency fire, medical, and evacuation plan|
|All of the above for the complete Earthbag Village|
|All of the above for complete renewable energy infrastructure|
|All of the above for complete sustainable food infrastructure|
All aspects of the Straw Bale Village will be open sourced for replication as either individual components or as part of the complete village. Just as we are doing with the Duplicable City Center and Earthbag Village (Pod 1), once those two are complete, we will produce for this village the same level of detail for the materials lists, build-time and labor details, construction plans, permitting needs and strategies, and much more for all components. Here are additional images and overviews of some of the key components of this village:
The Straw Bale Village consists of fifty-two 250-300 square foot (23-28 sq meters) studio-style rooms, each with an attached bathroom.
Units with lofts are on the external/outside ring of the torus and studio units are on the internal/inside ring of the torus. Bathrooms are between the units.
The design arranges the units in groups of 4 that can easily be connected and or converted to create multi-room units. Doors for making these connections will be framed in during the design process so repeated conversion from single to multi-room units and back again will only require removing or creating a doorway. This will allow for units as large as 4-bedrooms/4 full baths or as small as 1 bedroom/1 full bath studios or 2 bedroom/1 full bath family units with lofts. All units will feature skylights, their own bathrooms, and kitchenettes.
Studio residences will look similar to the pictures shown below. They will be smaller and won’t have lofts, but they benefit from being the inner ring of units with the easiest access to all the public spaces in the center of this village.
The outer ring features the units with lofts. These units are big enough for a family with a bedroom upstairs and downstairs. Being on the outer ring, these units will have the most convenient access to the surrounding nature trails and other recreational activities outside the village.
Here is a render of what the bathrooms will look like. All the bathrooms are the same for both the studio units and the family units.
Here are a couple overview renders showing four easy access walkways from the outside to the inside and vice versa. These walkways along with additional in/out access through the main kitchen and dining area make circulation throughout this village easy regardless of a person’s residence. Everything is just a short walk away.
The Straw Bale Village will feature a diversity of public spaces with a total recreational capacity estimated at over 500 people. Here is a summary of the most notable areas.
In the center of the village is a recreation and social space with stadium and loft seating for 150+ people surrounding a central fireplace. This fireplace will run entirely on biogas and convert into a stage when not used as a fireplace.
The kids’ playroom is shown in the back with slider windows so parents can be with their children and still enjoy activities happening in this room. The fireplace/stage is also visible from this room and special family seating is available between the room and the fireplace/stage too.
To convert the fireplace into a stage, the fireplace can be covered and the chimney withdrawn as shown below. The planks for covering the stage are stowed beneath the front-row seats and opening the chimney is accomplished using remote control winches mounted along the 2nd floor. In less than 10 minutes, this creates a stage for performances, leading classes, or other presentations and/or social events.
The main entrance to this village will provide large open spaces and access to the large-scale kitchen and dining for over 200+ people. Extra chairs and use of the outer dining areas and central seating area allows us to host groups as large as 500. The kitchen basics can be viewed now because they are modeled after the City Center open source kitchen designs.
In addition to the large-scale community kitchen, the Straw Bale Village also includes a diversity of other community spaces. These include a gym, game room, kids’ playroom, library/study and computer room, meeting and conference room, and more. All of these spaces are open source designed and shared for replication as part of this village or as individual/standalone straw bale structures.
All outdoor spaces are open source designed too. This includes the outdoor playground, outdoor barbecue and dining areas, and other recreation and relaxation spaces.
The Straw Bale Village is designed to demonstrate affordable, sustainable housing that can be modularly expanded with maximum ease. The straw bale construction method and torus design with centrally located bathrooms were chosen for this reason. As with Pod 1, the goal of Pod 2 is also maximum space and resource efficiency combined with artistic elements, shared common spaces designed for specific common uses, water catchment off all structures, and more.
Q: Where can I get more information about your philosophies for world change?
Please take a look at each of these additional pages: (click icons)
Q: What makes this design “maximally modularly expandable?”
The current tetradecagon (14-sided polygon) design was chosen because it is easily modified by others into a variety of winding patterns and lengthened as the population of the teacher/demonstration community, village, or city increases. As the winding pattern lengthens it increases the wind buffer for any adjacent food production.
With 7 villages to be designed, and a desire for artistic and unique appearances that also had a deeper relationship to the purpose/intent of each village, we drew inspiration from the 7-chakra system from Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism and the Japanese 5-elements philosophy.
Note: One Community does not endorse or subscribe to any one spiritual philosophy. You can read more about our philosophy on spirituality and religion on our Spirituality Page.
The Straw Bale Village was designed thinking of the Heart (4th) Chakra from Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism and the Air Element (“fū” or “kaze”) from the Japanese 5-elements philosophy. These ideas coincided with the family and community focus and helped inspire the circular design and centralization of the recreation spaces in the “heart” of this village. The associated color of “green” helped develop the color palette for this village and we further aligned, diversified, and distinguished the purpose and intent of the village by looking at One Community’s core values and focusing on the values of Love & Connection, Community, and Fulfilled Living.
To further share the design process for this village, here are some of the initial renders and design drawings:
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Straw Bale Village Initial Drawing (left) – Straw Bale Village in CAD (right)
Brianna Johnson: Interior Designer, Architectural Drafter and 3D Modeler
Dave Walen: Architectural Drafter & Designer and Owner of Dave Philip Walen Design
Douglas Simms Stenhouse: Architect and Water Color Artist
Jagannathan Shankar Mahadevan: Mechanical Engineer
Renata Maehara: Civil Engineering Student
Sayonara Batista de Oliveira: 4th-year Architecture and Urban Planning Student
Shilcy Augustine: Architect