Straw Bale House - Maraetotara



When the practice was approached to design a straw bale house on an exposed site in a rural location. We considered the risk of building in this medium to be high given that the rain is driven horizontally from all directions on the site.

We engaged the expertise of a university lecturer who proved invaluable in assisting to design a ventilated rain skin to ensure the long term durability of the structure.

Our clients were content with the system and the end result is worthy of the process we went through to satisfy ourselves that the house would be sustainable in the long term.


The site is situated in a valley in rural Hawkes Bay and the house looks out over picturesque farmland, bush and rocky outcrops.

Access to the site is by a private road and the siting of the house gives the impression that no one else exists.



The house is built using straw bale external walls with a ventilated rain skin on the outside. The exterior of the skin is plastered as is the inside of the straw bale. Internal timber frames walls are plastered the match.

The exterior joinery is made from selected macrocarpa and the roof is blue gum shakes.


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