A unique opportunity to expand your knowledge about natural building, specifically straw bale design and construction, is not far away. Mark your calendars for 3-9 March 2016, for the International Straw Building Conference (ISBC) which will be in Methven, Canterbury. In the past, this conference has been hosted by Australia (2002), Canada (2006) and the USA (2012) and in 2016 New Zealand is honoured to be it’s host.
These conferences bring together some of the brilliant minds working internationally to share, learn and expand on their knowledge with all. They are wonderfully inspirational as well as great fun. This is not a conference where you will sit still for the entire five days (you can if you so prefer). Hands-on workshops will be on offer throughout the conference as well as lectures and/presentations And we must not forget to mention the Straw Bale Olympics, a conference tradition for the enjoyment of all.
The line-up of keynote speakers is impressive with varied backgrounds in their work. In order to entice you to register for the conference let’s take a look at who they are and the work they do…
Bruce King, is one of the most influential figures internationally in the world of Natural Building and also one of the most entertaining. He has been a practicing structural engineer for 35 years, designing buildings of every size and type around the world, and has 20 years of leadership in the global green building movement. He is an advisor to Foundation Capital, CalStar Products, and BuildingGreen, authored three books and has helped write improved building codes from California to Mongolia that have facilitated more ecologically-sound methods of building previously hampered by the codes. Bruce is also the Founder and Director of the Ecological Building Network (EBNet), a non-profit information resource based in San Rafael, California.
Rachel Bevan, an English architect now settled in Northern Ireland, lives & works from a converted watermill in rural County Down. She runs her own firm, Rachel Bevan Architect, and her work includes one-off houses, conversions & renovations to listed buildings, community and hospitality projects, public housing,and master-planning for a sustainable village. Rachel has authored and co-authored several publications in the field of bio-based materials for construction, and recently built a Hemp-Lime cottage in her garden in order to more fully understand and appreciate the material. Currently she is exploring the building science that Architects use.
David Eisenberg, one of the pioneers in the resurgence of straw bale building in the USA, co-founded and has led the nonprofit Development Center for Appropriate Technology (DCAT) since 1992. David’s wide-ranging building experience — from troubleshooting construction of the high-tech cover of Biosphere2, to conventional concrete, steel, masonry and wood, to adobe, rammed earth, straw bale — has grounded DCAT’s work in both building and in codes and standards. David co-wrote The Straw Bale House (one of the first publications on the subject), and helped write the first load-bearing straw bale building code as well as working on the Strawbale Appendix for the 2015 International Building Code and the official Code Commentary for it.
Barbara Jones, is a pioneer strawbale designer builder, from the UK, and of innovative and cement-free foundations with over 20 years experience. She has a keen interest in affordable homes for ordinary people, and has developed a uniquely empowering method of practical training on building sites, setting up the School of Natural Building in 2014. With a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, and a Woman of Outstanding Achievement Award in 2009, she runs her own company, Straw Works, designing natural buildings and supporting self-builders and architects. Her definitive book, Building with Straw Bales, a manual for self-builders and architects has been updated and republished in 2015.
Chris Magwood is a builder, author and teacher who is ‘obsessed with making the best, most energy efficient, beautiful and inspiring buildings without wrecking the whole darn planet in the attempt’. He is a member of the Ontario Natural Building Coalition and is the founding director of The Endeavour Centre, where he brings this passion to life. He has co-authored a number of books and his latest: ‘Making Better Buildings: A Comparative Guide to Sustainable Construction for Homeowners and Contractors’ was published in 2012. Chris has been named a Canadian Eco-Hero by Harrowsmith Magazine and has won numerous design and teaching awards including a Home Sweet Home Award for Affordable Housing.
Graeme North, does not need much introduction. He is a Registered Architect who has been pivotally involved with the Natural Building renaissance in New Zealand for over 40 years. He was founding Chair of the Earth Building Association of New Zealand, (EBANZ), a position he once again resumes, and also chairs the Standards New Zealand Technical Committee responsible for the NZ Earth Building Standards. Graeme holds life membership of the Permaculture Association of New Zealand (PiNZ) and is a founding Trustee of the YIMFY (Yes! In My Front Yard) Trust which promotes appropriate building technology in New Zealand. He also promotes the integration of productive plants and restorative buildings to create permaculture-based designs he calls “livingscapes”.
Craig White is an architectural practitioner and renewable building material entrepreneur and is a founding Director of White Design and ModCell . He has over 25 years’ experience in architectural practice in the UK and Europe and has been involved in low energy and sustainable design since the 1980s. His innovative Modcell construction method using engineered timber and straw bales as prefabricated wall panels, developed in conjunction with the University of Bath, has been used for a number of school and housing projects and is gaining a lot of attention in the UK and Europe. Craig is involved in a number of EU research initiatives incorporating bio-based materials and is hoping to find research partners while in New Zealand.
Presenters from all over the globe will complete the conference programme…from Spain, Turkey, Italy, France, Ireland, Japan, USA, UK, Australia and of course New Zealand. The conference programme is revolving around the following themes.
- From Tiny Houses to Grand Designs
- The Art and Science of Building Construction
- R & R: Research and Regulations
- Resources and Courses
- International Roundup
- Collaboration, Integration and the Big Picture
We encourage you to start making plans tobe in Methven in March 2016 to experience, to share, to learn and to build community. Our hope is that you will come away from an experience that will leave you inspired, full of knowledge and with a much bigger community of colleagues and friends.
Early bird registrations are open until 1 September 2015, so book soon to make the most of this amazing opportunity!