Have you always wondered about strawbale construction? Heard it is only for hot and dry climates? Think again! With their combination of insulation and thermal mass, plastered strawbale walls can be perfect for cold - and even wet - climates if they are designed and built according to a set of time tested principles. This course balances sessions in the classroom and on a demonstration project so you will learn to think your way through a bale house while gaining a feel for the nature of straw, clay and lime as building materials.

Course start time: Sunday, 5pm
Course end time: Friday, 5pm


"I now have a wealth of information about the pros/cons and processes of building with strawbale that will help me build a better home than I would otherwise have been able to build."

"I am totally fulfilled with the class and would recommend it to anybody planning to build with bales or even just curious about the possibilities of a straw/plaster, with was my position entering the class.  Thank you Yestermorrow for making me smarter than I was a week ago."

"After taking this class, my enthusiasm for strawbale building has been renewed and I am much more confident in my ability to actually build my home."

  • Competency Level: All Levels
  • Sterling College credits: 2 Continuing Education Units ($260 additional)
  • AIA credits: 35 HSW Learning Units

Suggested Reading

Ace McArleton and Jacob Deva Racusin. The Natural Building Companion
Paul Lacinski and Michel Bergeron. Serious Straw Bale
Chris Magwood, Peter Mack, and Tina Therrien. More Straw Bale Building
edited by Bruce King. Design of Straw Bale Buildings: The State of the Art

Materials to Bring

  • Sturdy work gloves
  • Measuring tape, utility knife
  • Notebook and pens/pencils
  • Clothes to get dirty in (long sleeved shirts and long pants to protect from the straw)
  • Eye protection
  • Work boots
  • Dust mask
  • Camera

Course Outline


  • 5PM Orientation to Yestermorrow, dinner, Introductory slideshow


  • AM Introduction to materials and techniques, beginning bale stacking
  • PM Bale stacking
  • EVE Technical details slideshow


  • AM Bale stacking
  • PM Bale stacking
  • EVE Open Studio/Presentation


  • AM Lecture and slides: Design programming for SB buildings
  • PM House tours
  • EVE Free


  • AM Plaster preparation
  • PM Plaster preparation
  • EVE Presentation on Owner-Building: practical, philosophical, and political considerations


  • AM Plastering
  • PM Plastering
  • EVE Dinner and graduation 6pm

Schedule subject to change slightly due to inclement weather or the desires, requests or focus of the students.

Start Date: June 21, 2015
Duration: 5 Days
Tuition: $875