Straw Bale Construction in Colorado

This quaint, jewel box home in Snowmass, just outside of Aspen, Colorado, was Hagman Architect’s first foray into straw bale construction. Working collaboratively with the owners, an incredible local couple, we incorporate straw bale as well as cutting-edge green building techniques into the conceptualization process.

With square footage optimization top of mind, we opted to use straw bales in just a portion of the design – utilizing a wood frame, infilling with straw and sealing with stucco. A “truth window” was part of the design that highlighted the interior of the straw walls (see photo below), adding an eclectic touch. With the addition of passive solar, state of the art windows and SIPS panels – this hybrid constructed home became incredibly energy efficient.

As with most building techniques there are pros and cons. The advantages of straw bale construction include the renewable nature of straw, low cost, easy availability, naturally fire-retardant and high insulation value. Downfalls are that walls can look lumpy or rot if not installed correctly. There is also the issue of space, meeting building codes and getting full-coverage insurance.

Although we would never claim to be experts on the subject, we thoroughly enjoyed this project and look forward to incorporating straw bales in future home designs.