I really lost count of how many TreeHugger buttons this building pushes. The Straw Bale Café by Hewitt Studios is "an extended 100 seat cafe, refurbished kitchen and cafe terrace for the Holme Lacy campus of the Herefordshire College of Technology. The extension is conceived as a College learning aid in low-impact environmental design"
The architects summarize on their website:
• Demountable: Building designed to be dismantled at end of 15 year design life and all components re-used / re-cycled.
• Low-impact Structure: Modcell pre-fabricated timber frame bearing on pad foundations.
• Local Materials: Cedar, sedum and organic straw insulation to be grown/harvested by the College on-site.
• Simple Construction: The timber frame structure was designed to be assembled / dis-assembled by a semi-skilled workforce. College staff / students assisted with the construction, inc. frame assembly and planting of the green wall.
• Low Carbon: The building is designed to minimise embodied energy and energy in use through the use of super-insulation, passive environmental controls and on-site energy generation (solar and wind power).
• Learning Aid: The building offers the potential to test new environmental technologies, through the involvement of post-graduate research students at Nottingham University. ilovedust have produced an educational wall graphic to tell the environmental story of the building.
They go into greater detail in ArchDaily:
We chose to pre-fabricate the building structure, in order to avoid the need for certain lengthy and disruptive on-site processes. The Modcell load-bearing panel system was used. The panels were assembled in a ‘flying-factory’ in one of the College outbuildings by architecture students from Nottingham University and members of our practice.
Straw bales were cut to size in the College farm – trimmings were composted or used as animal bedding. The frame is made using offcuts from the timber industry. Cut waste was minimal, as each panel was precision cut from larger sheets using CNC equipment, but any waste was re-used the factory’s biomass boiler. Offcuts of aluminum and steel and were minimised by the design, but any offcuts were collected and recycled via the scrap industry.
Modcell is a fascinating method of doing modern, sophisticated straw bale, combining the latest CNC tech with the most traditional of materials, straw. I thought the Prefab Gateway Building By MAKE Built from Strawbale and Cross-Laminated Timber pushed every button, but this tops them all, adding demountability and training of students and trades. Nice work from Hewitt Studio