Rachel Shiamh’s Strawbale House : Living in the Future (Ecovillages) 15
Rachel Shiamh’s Strawbale House : Living in the Future (Ecovillages) 15

My name’s Rachel Shiamh and we’re here in Pembrokeshire
in West Wales. We’re at the site of a two storey,
load bearing, straw bale house. Which is the first in the UK that’s two storey, load bearing. And load bearing means that it doesn’t have a wooden frame to hold the house together. It’s literally straw bales, built like bricks, with a roof fixed on. And they’re compressed and plastered and that’s what holds the house together. I can’t really say where the
inspirations for this house came. I think it came through me just by letting go and listening to the natural surroundings. It started to arise through me the vision for the house. This place used to be, in the old days, a look out over the estuary, for when pirates came in. Also a place of retreat for the monks of the ruined abbey, in the village. I was really aware of that connection with this land and the abbey and I started to get images of curves, arches and also the pattern of energy
under the ground. When I walked into what was
going to be the house, I had a clear direction for where the bathroom needed to go, where the kitchen was going to go. it was almost like something was just lending itself to me. So it wasn’t as if I just sat down and
thought about it. It was a few years of it emerging. I think for me, it just makes sense to have a curving space. It’s kind and it’s what nature offers. Nature doesn’t offer straight lines and corners. And for me, it’s about flow, and working with women on the build was an empowering experience. I found that there was a level of cooperation that was unspoken. That we could work together quite quietly and harmoniously, often. Which was a beautiful experience and I didn’t have to explain myself too much. I think there is room for more
women to go into building. And there’s a lack of confidence there. Desmond Tutu has said, “We men have made a mess, and now it’s time for the women.” And I don’t actually totally agree with that, but I think there’s an opening now where the softness, and the slowness, and that intuitive way of being, is coming into the world. And it’s going to support the fear and the disasters, and the climate change. All this fear that’s surrounding
climate change, and the changes in the world. I think there’s a portal, and there’s an opening to support that. And I feel that that’s what this
home has been about.

10 thoughts on “Rachel Shiamh’s Strawbale House : Living in the Future (Ecovillages) 15”

  1. Kate says:

    Beautiful! Very peaceful environment !

  2. hejdiklump says:


  3. Bulb Forms says:

    I agree, just as this type of dwelling is our past it is also our future because time is cyclical.. I had no idea that straw could be used as a load bearing element. Do you know if hempcrete can also be used the sole load bearing element?

  4. adamclay666 says:

    hi Rachel. magnificent build. please tell me what you used as a base before you started putting the bales down. are you raised off the ground, by what, and how do you stop water rising up from the base into the straw by capillary action. many thanks.

  5. Julian Hastings says:

    Hi gang! looking to do a bale build project here 2016-17 will feed helpers etc www.selfcateringcorfu.com

  6. Orpheas Nestos says:

    Absolutely majestic!

  7. Leo Ruocco says:

    Reverend tutu was on to something there.

  8. john lloyd says:

    Well, money talks here.

  9. Ed Stattmann says:

    Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing <3

  10. Living in the Future says:

    Rachel now rents out her Contemplative Eco Lodge on Air BnB, so you can visit! https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1034563?preview_for_ml=true&source_impression_id=p3_1564824160_XYwIVlPSngk5no5B&fbclid=IwAR076fGXFL4Yr0fLIunO4wyaxE3VOux2ouGe7ImVR9ND9z0apL_B-F2in-E

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