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STRAW PAVILION (SEMINAR ROOMS)

BUILDING STUDY

Both this and the earth pavilion follow the old adage that when you build a wall of such natural materials it needs 'a good hat and boots'. They have bases of concrete block, though not pitched roofs. The straw pavilion's roof build-up - structure, insulation, sedum green roof - is articulated by a boarded edge with a very deep aluminium ashing to throw water clear of the lime-rendered walls. The structure is a timber and straw hybrid, using the load-bearing capacity of the bales while ensuring movement is controlled at the interfaces with the main pavilion curtain wall.

Bales of local wheat straw (U = 0.13W/m 2K) were laid in stretcher bond and pinned with hazel rods, then precompressed with straps while the roof was added. Internal timber studs were used to provide the exact final wall perimeter dimensions, in case the bales should shrink further. (There are 40 probes in the bale walls to monitor moisture profiles. ) A pump-action machine was used to force in the external render to ensure a strong key.

Some of the interior surfaces are finished with a quite heavily textured lime plaster. Others, including the external wall within the main pavilion, are finished in axboard - a smooth-surfaced sheet.

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