Living off the grid in a straw-bale human “nest”

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Parisian architecture firm Studio 1984 submitted a human nest made of bales of straw as their entry into a competition hosted by the Archi<20 Festival de L’Architecture in Alsace, France.

“Social and environmental sustainability are linked and should be considered in the design of projects,” cofounder Romain Gié tells Co.Design.“For us it is like a land art piece integrated into the rural landscape, using natural and ecological insulation from a playful point of view.”

Human Nest

Co.Design shares:

A variety of wood was selected for specific functions–Douglas for the frame, larch for the joinery, pine for the interior finishing, and acacia for foundations–but the main source of R&D was done surrounding the use and treatment of the straw. In addition to working out the most effective way to secure it to the structure itself, it was essential to create a strong squeeze between the bales in order to avoid thermal bridges–essentially heat loss between poor insulators–and unwelcome guests. “Rodents don’t live inside compressed bales, but do between them,” Gié explains. “So if you compress all of them together, you’re safe.”

The charmingly bare-bones unit took three months to design and three weeks to construct, and what it lacks in modern amenities and conveniences, it more than makes up for in sweet simplicity and a super-close relationship with the idyllic surrounds. The mini-unit is now owned by the House of Nature of Mutterscholtz, and plans are afoot to transform it into a public facility for kids who canoe and kayak in the nearby river.

  • Susmita Baral

    Susmita is a writer and editor in the Greater New York City area. In her spare time, Susmita enjoys cooking, traveling, dappling in photography, art history and interior design, and moonlighting as a therapist for her loved ones.

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