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"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
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Strawbale materials


One World Design

Straw -

Earth and straw have been used as a building material since the beginning of time. Beginning in the late 1900’s, Nebraska settlers used straw bales to build the walls of their houses. Now, straw bales are favored for highly insulated, energy-efficient homes constructed with less processed, environmentally-friendly materials.

Be sure to locate your specific strawbale supplier BEFORE DESIGN, because bales vary in size and their size needs to be part of the sizing of walls, height, etc. to prevent split bales and filling in with loose straw.

Visit the straw inventory to make sure it is clean, dry (test for humidity)

Bamboo -

Bamboo is very hard, strong, and dimensionally stable. Used as flooring, bamboo is just as hard as Maple (1450.3 psi) and 50 percent more stable than Red Oak. Botanically, bamboo is not wood, bu a grass. It matures in three years, regenerates without need for replanting, and requires minimal fertilization or pesticides. Larger species of bamboo have been used in construction for thousands of years.

Research: Darrell Deboer, bamboo architect
Darrell Deboer
1835 pacific Ave., Alameda, CA 94501, 510-865-3669,
Urban Addiction Urban Addiction

Natural finishes-

Modern latex paints are often toxic with volatile organic compounds (v.o.c.’s). Natural paints are easy to make and require only a few inexpensive ingredients including clay, lime, chalk, marble, and mineral pigments from the earth. They can be applied to almost any type of wall surface including latex, gypsum, cement, sheetrock, or wood. “Milk Paint” is one example that is finding it’s way back into modern usage.


Cork is the environmentally friendly renewable bark from a cork oak tree that grows primarily around the Mediterranean Sea. The bark is used for a large variety of products including floor tiles. Cork is light in weight and floats, soft but durable, expandable and flexible. It is moisture resistant yet allows some absorption. It insulates, isolates, absorbs sound and vibrations, and is anti-static. There is no other material – natural or man-made – that possesses all of these qualities.


Concrete blocks madeinexpensive, strong columns/posts -- for post and beam, or veranda support.


Network Earth
Earthen Floor using Road Base ("City base". It has been approved by road building engineers for use in building roads and streets in Austin. It has a plasticity index of 12 which relates to the way it shrinks and swells. It costs $2.48 per ton plus hauling. A 500 sq. ft. floor will require two twelve-ton truckloads costing $200-$300 delivered. The best sealer I have found is boiled linseed oil, thinned with turpentine and brushed on in several coats. (The odor dissipates in a week or two.)

For more articles about URBAN NATURE

Urban Agriculture for Outdoor Adventure
Earth's Most Successful Life Form
Kudzu Grows a Foot per Day
Meow How? Should I keep my cat indoors?
Habitat on Your Balcony and Garden Patio
Keeping ants in nature where they belong