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Too much of a fuss made of a few straw bales

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Why does everybody insist on referring to Sarah Wigglesworth and Jeremy Till's joint venture as a 'straw bale house' (Building Study, aj 14.10.99). As far as I can make out, it is a structure made of timber, concrete, brick, steel. Of anything, in fact, but straw. True, a few straw bales are used for insulation, but really, so what? Insulation materials have never been hard to come by. I applaud the innovative design of the project, but must plead for a degree of caution in the way the scheme is explained to the public. How are we meant to persuade people that architects can be trusted with other people's money when we talk about a 'house of straw' where each bale cost £1.50, and the overall cost of the development is knocking on for half a million pounds - not to mention the cost of a North London site?

Lisa Mackie, Coventry

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