The Straw Bale Cafe utilises the ModCell Lite system as the structural walling elements of the building.
As the name suggests, the team behind this project were not afraid to use some unusual materials and construction techniques. In doing so, they have created for Herefordshire College of Technology a new refectory that is an exemplar of sustainable construction.
The team, led by architect Hewitt Studios, used local materials where possible, including western red cedar from the college estate and 60 straw bales, which were cut to size in the college farm. Any waste was composted or used as animal bedding.
The straw is so effective as insulation that very little heating or cooling is required, and the building is both power- generating (6kW through solar and wind power) and living – a green wall planted with indigenous species promotes biodiversity.
The only disappointment with this project is that we have a limited time to enjoy it: thanks to the use of a load bearing panel system, it is easily dismantled, and the plan is to recycle its components within 20 years.
Winner of the National 2011 LABC Technical Innovation Award
Shortlisted for a National 2011 RIBA Design Award
Shortlisted for a 2012 Wood Award (Small Projects Category)