Rome, Italy, 2012.

One of the objectives of this project was to debunk the cliché that straw was suitable for buildings only in rural settings.
It is a private residence built on one level for an area of about 180 square meters and built with a wooden frame and padding in straw bales. The high thermal insulation properties (λ = 0.012 W/m²K) and sound absorbents make the straw an excellent building material. This solution, in fact, has substantial advantages both in terms of environmental comfort and in economic terms, linked to low heating costs.
The plaster, given directly on the straw, is a natural mixture of cocciopesto, that is a mixture of fragments in crushed bricks, slaked lime and sand. It is a material historically used by the Romans, which has waterproofing properties, leaving, however, breathe the walls. The plaster, in addition to protecting the bales against atmospheric agents, weather and any animals, makes the structure resistant to fire for 90′ at 1100ºC.
The distinctive element of this project is not only the construction technique, but also the methods through which it was built. The building site hosted the “Quadraro Workshop Series” training program, a series of practical international workshops on the subject of natural construction techniques: wooden frame structures, the use of straw bales as infill panels, cocciopesto plaster, the tadelakt for waterproof finishes, the radiant floor. The building can be visited every year on the occasion of Open House Rome.

Team: Paolo Robazza, Francesca Romana De Paolis, Linda Aquaro, Anna Maiello, Valentina Bonetti
Client: private
Type of project: new construction
Cost: 280.000 euros
Dimensions: 180 sq.m.
Photo credits: Paolo Robazza
State: completed
Participants: Caterina Zizzi, Helga Visalli, Valentina Russo, Giulia Ratti, Jacopo Domenici, Marco Grimm, Anna Maiello, Donatella Cillo, Gero Versaci, Enrico Caiolo, Roberta Cama, Martino Salvadori, Immacolata Alianelli, Gianni Ibba, Valeria Russi, Daniela Mancini, Maria Abbracciavento, Serena Casciano, Diletta Liverani, Andrea Milani, Silvia Peroni, Eric Kuetgens, Emma Cavallucci, Piero Antonelli, Stefano Loasses

Video of the project