Architects / Designers

The design work on this website comes from many different architects and designers. Each one has their own take on the world of straw bale design and construction and thus each drawing is different. In fact, some of the details of how the house or structure is put together will also be different from designer to designer; however, the projects are all well designed and detailed, giving you the information you’ll need to build the house yourself, no matter’s whose plans you choose.

You can learn a little about each of the architects and designers here. We have provided links to their drawings below their bio so you can jump directly to their plans to take a look.

David Arkin & Anni Tilt: Arkin-Tilt Architects

Arkin Tilt Architects is an award-winning firm specializing in energy and resource efficient design. Our projects embody a marriage of thoughtful design and ecology, creating spaces that are comfortable and lyrical. We pay particular attention to the integration of the built and natural environments—from siting to careful detailing

Winner of the Acterra Business Award for the Sustainable Built Environment, two AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project Awards, and numerous design awards, our work has been published nationally and internationally for excellence in design and sustainability. With electric and biodiesel cars and solar electricity, we are working to keep the office’s carbon footprint small.

David and Anni are much more than just business partners in Arkin-Tilt Architects. They are life partners, married with two wonderful children. David has taught and lectured on the subject of ecological design for over twelve years. He is also a board member of the Solar Living Institute. Among many other achievements, Anni explored the ecological use of wood in construction, taught structures and design, and was awarded the prestigious Branner Traveling Fellowship while pursuing a masters of architecture at UC Berkeley. Among the initial founders of the California Straw Building Association (CASBA), they have extensive experience with straw-bale construction as well as rammed earth, renewable energy systems, greywater, and non-toxic and recycled materials.

Chris Keefe: Organicforms Design

In 1996 Chris graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Liberal Arts (focusing on drawing and music) and a minor in Philosophy of Religion. After graduation, he traveled around the states, throughout Europe and in 1997, spent six months in Asia. He trekked through Nepal and Thailand, and was enchanted by India in which he spent four months. It was a trip that helped him truly appreciate, on many levels, the world we live in.

When he returned home to Berkley, California he discovered Ecological design at the San Francisco Institute of Architecture – a small school in downtown San Francisco that specializes in organic architecture, ecological and visionary design. He graduated in the fall of 2001 with a Masters in Architecture and Ecological Design. In the fall of 1999, Chris traveled to Arizona for six week internship with Phil Hawes, the architect of the Biosphere II project. In the summer of 2000, he completed another internship, this at Frank Lloyd Wright’s School of Architecture in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 2002 Chris moved to Ashland, Oregon and expanded his design company. He has since designed many straw bale and conventional homes for clients around the world. He continues to work with clients to design their dream homes today.


Touson Saryon: Integral Design Studio

Touson Saryon of Integral Design Studio found a passion for architecture during his youth in a small country town outside of Boston, MA. Through education at both Syracuse University School of Architecture and University of Massachusetts Dept. of Landscape Architecture, he was able to develop a balanced design approach of both interior and exterior spaces. Learning was extended in a private 2 year internship with an ecological architect in Northern California where he gained extensive knowledge of sustainable design principles and materials. During 8 years living in Crestone, CO, Touson designed and built a passive solar family home and grew his design practice. Several of his homes are featured in The New Strawbale Book and The Small Strawbale. Touson now resides in Mount Shasta, CA with his wife and 3 children and continues to design in 6 western states.

Timbo Scursso

Timbo embodies the spirit of the Master Builder of pre-modern times. Rooted as a practical designer and an accomplished builder, his simple designs and finely-crafted details exemplify what is achievable in straw bale construction. He is excited to share his lifelong construction experience and the wisdom of twenty years of specific straw bale design/build knowledge with a larger community.