480 SQ FT


The basic idea here is to build several very small free standing units, into a compound, one at a time under the min. square footage requirement of the code. These units measure 7.5' x 10.5' displacing 79 sq. ft. (inside) and 10.5' x 13.5 displacing 142 sq. ft. (outside). Depending on the code enforcement, they may be built without a building permit.

Another obvious advantage is that by building one small unit at a time you limit your "exposure" (time, money, stress) and gain experience to be used on progressive units. In the process of building one little box...you experience all the elements of building straw bale but in a limited, non threatening way. Have a success, take a breather, re-evaluate, then tackle the next box with new confidence and enhanced skills.

At a later date you have the option of roofing the central patio and increasing the size of your house from 480 to 975 sq. ft. total.

The plan is enclosed by low walls creating three semi-private gardens and a parking space (carport) with work bench. At the time of enclosing the central patio...consider creating a large entry from either the east of west garden areas.
(please type your comments here)

REM Alan Leibensperger (Alohapuna@aol.com) - http://hometown.aol.com/alohapuna/ - 2001-02-04 02:21:03

Hello, Robert. What an incredibly fantastic site. I live in Tucson, AZ and have attended Dan Dorsey's workshop and also have been to Matts Mehrman lectures. I have wanted to add or redo my kitchen (the kitchen area has structural damage). Your 480sf compound area looks like the perfect solution and one that I cold probably afford as I would do most of it myself. The bathroom would also be the perfect thing to add later nearby where the water and sewer lines already exist. I am going to look into this right away. I also has a small guest house in the back which I could do the same thing with. How exciting.

I have almost 3 acres on the Big Island of Hawai'i where I want to build and eventurally move. I wish there were such sustainable type building innovations that I cold use there. (Much too rainy and damp for straw bale.) But I don't like the idea of having to use wood if there were suitable alternatives that were also inexpensive and attractive as wood. Great Job, Thank you for all the wonderful ideas. I sent this to a friend who had been toying with the idea of building a S/B here in Tucson also. Thanks again, Alan

Webmaster and Straw Bale Design: Robert Andrews, 3223 Urban Street, Pueblo, Colorado, 81005(719)561-8020 (520)325-8576