BIØN²#1 Launching the workshop: the prefab’ factory

After several weeks of intense preparation work and uncertainty due to the Covid-19 crisis, we are finally pleased to announce that Workshop BIØN² #1 Design&Build with Straw Bales has started! Our 18 participants coming from 5 different countries (Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Belgium) just arrived in the small and nice village of Villasbuenas de Gata (Cáceres, Spain), that will host the workshop from 3 to 30 august 2020.

The need identified by the local community and communicated to our team through the City Council (our main interlocutor in this project) is to intervene on a municipal plot until know disused, with the aim to convert it little by little in a park (small trees have already been planted) with cultural activities (an artistic wall painting was already made last year). The proposal is to build a 28m2 bioclimatic prototype called “La Casita de Paja” (the small straw house), which will have a demonstrative and educative function, and in addition will provide a space for the community to realize small craft workshops or artistic exhibitions.

On the first day of the workshop, we welcomed our newly arrived participants telling them the objectives of the training, the project with the local community, and doing some presentation dynamics to help the members of the group to know each other. We then visited the building site, were a team of masons of the village were finishing to prepare the stone masonry that would constitute the basement of “La Casita de Paja”.

Once this first contact realized, we bring the group to the sports hall situated next to the building site, turned for the occasion into a small prefabrication factory. Indeed, our mission during this first week of the workshop is to prefabricate all the elements constituting the envelope of  “La Casita de Paja”: 46 prefabricated wood and straw panels for the walls and 8 wooden core slabs insulated with cork for the roof.

In one week, thanks to the great work of the participants, and to a good organization of the tasks and chronogram, the challenge has been taken up, and we will be ready to start placing the elements onsite next week!

The training week, interspersed of some theoretical sessions on straw bale building, was enclosed by an interesting field trip to Vegaviana,  a village built “from the scratch” during the 50’s-60’s situated at 20km of the workshop’s place. This emblematic architectural project, awarded with several prices, interested us in particular for its relationship with the original ecosystem present in the place and for the integration of building techniques inspired by the local vernacular constructions.

Another important moment of this first week was the presentation of the project to the local community on the village’s place. The chairs had to be separed due to current sanitary restrictions, but even like this, we received a warm welcoming from the people present this evening.



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