z-Straw Bale Design 2 Day Workshop: Ashland, OR 8/10 & 8/11, 2019




Andrew Morrison straw bale design workshop

Bring your plans and all your questions!

Most people don’t recognize that designing a straw bale house is actually different than designing a conventional house and that there are many straw bale specific details that can easily be missed. Architects new to straw bale design and optimistic owner-designers frequently overlook these details causing many mistakes to occur over the course of the build, which cost time and money to fix.

The purpose of this workshop is to teach you how to implement straw bale specific details into your design and how those details will allow you to design and build a high quality, super efficient and beautiful straw bale home.


This two-day workshop is designed specifically to meet the needs of just about everyone from the interested homeowner to the professional architect.  If you are…

• Just Getting Started: As someone interested in straw bale design and construction, you may have read all of the books and viewed all of the videos, but still want something more. People learn in many different ways and if you are the type of person who learns better in person, this is the perfect workshop for you to get started in the fun and exciting world of straw bale!

• Too Busy For a 7 Day Workshop: Perhaps you have considered taking one of my seven-day workshops but simply cannot get the necessary time off of work to attend. This two-day workshop is the perfect solution. By focusing on the details of straw bale design, you will gain a firm understanding of how the systems come together.

• Already Designing Your Home: Your understanding of the design process, from start to finish, will greatly expand. You will be fully aware of how each aspect of the design influences another. In addition, you will see your plans from a new perspective and obtain a deep connection with the details of your drawings. This deeper understanding is vital to your construction success.

• Professional Architect, Designer, Engineer: Perhaps you want to add straw bale design to your portfolio. This workshop will give you a solid grasp of the details, the nuances of straw bale design, and the implications of proper execution of those learned techniques. You will master the details that distinguish straw bale from conventional construction and leave the workshop prepared to design your straw bale projects with confidence.


Andrew Morrison 1 straw bale design workshop

Our Denver, CO 2 Day Design Workshop

This two-day design workshop covers much more than just the how-to of straw bale home design. We will cover a wide array of topics including what building departments, banks, insurance companies, and subcontractors are looking for in a set of plans. Making a mistake with any of these entities can have a negative impact on your ability to build within a budget and schedule. Throughout the workshop I’ll also share all of the cost effective construction tips and techniques I’ve learned and/or developed over the years.

I will show you essential details for foundationsframing systemslateral bracing options, and other engineering details. I’ll also cover the inclusion of electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems along with basic design considerations such as room layouts and space efficiency. We will have an extensive dialogue about material selection for your entire straw bale home. Everything from plaster to roofing, and framing materials to finish flooring will be covered.  

While I am aware that nobody can design a quality house in a few hours, I also know that having an opportunity to explore your design ideas, hopes and dreams under the guidance of a straw bale expert is invaluable. As you integrate what you have learned in the workshop into your own design, I’ll be there to answer your questions and to help you overcome any roadblocks. If you don’t have a specific design in mind when you start the workshop, don’t worry,  I have some exercises that will pave the way for you to begin your design process. No matter what stage of design, or pre-design, you are in, this workshop will move you towards success.


Advantages of Building with Bales

 Learn why to build with bales, where they can and can’t work, cost savings, energy efficiency, environmental impacts, debunking myths, straw bale testing results, design specific advantages

Mortgages and Insurance

• Finding loans and insurance in today’s financial market, who to talk to and what to say, how not to raise red flags, initial square foot/budget review

Codes and Building Officials

• Straw bale specific code details, what to do if there are no official straw bale codes in your location, essential steps in communication, educating inspectors, building better than code (avoiding code mandated mistakes), guidelines for getting plans passed, turning inspectors into allies


Details for slab on grade in temperate climates, super insulated cold weather slabs, stem walls/raised floor/crawl space, basements, pad and pier foundations, rubble trench foundations, earthquake/uplift considerations, radiant floor heating, thermal mass design, foundations for earthen floors, code requirements

Framing Systems

 Calculating wall heights, effective window and door framing, box beams, wall intersection details, framing multiple stories, bale/ceiling intersections, smooth transitions for different surface finishes, rain screeds for conventional siding, exposed frame details


• Lateral bracing, out of plane detailing, when to use an engineer, vertical loads, structural engineering for safety, learn how to visualize the effects of the engineering on the design

Electrical and Plumbing Considerations

• Their effects on straw bale walls, electrical installation details and options, lighting design, code requirements, whole house entertainment systems and specialty wiring (phone, internet, TV, alarms, etc…), installing plumbing to avoid water damage, water isolation walls, plumbing’s effect on straw bale design

General Layouts and Design Considerations

• Room locations, cost effective design details, designing for energy efficiency, designing a house that has good flow

Working with subcontractors

 How to bring all your subs together to create a successful action plan, create your green team, what to expect from your subs (pricing, schedules, etc…), keeping your team organized and happy, scheduling, keeping your subs on budget, what type of contract to use (time and materials, cost plus, etc…)

Material Selection for Your Floors and Walls

 Finish flooring (bamboo, earthen floors, stamped concrete, carpet, tile, etc…), interior and exterior wall finishes (earth and lime plaster, siding, etc…)

Green Your Home Top to Bottom

Roof and floor insulation options, window and door selection, heating/cooling systems, finish electrical/plumbing options, passive solar design, cabinetry and counter tops

The cost for the 2-Day workshop is $349 (tuition is non-refundable). Immediately after checkout you’ll receive links to your $400 in Bonuses.  Bring a friend and receive $50 off your tuition (contact us after sign up and we will issue you a $50 refund). You can read about what one of our 2 Day Straw Bale Design workshop experiences was like HERE. The dates are 8/10 & 8/11, 2019.

straw bale design workshop