Zenfolio | dharmaphotos | Links & Information

Project Links

Harrison House Retreat
 
(link)
A web page on the Lou Harrison House (Vault) in Joshua Tree. The vault is available for rental to individuals.


 
Morocco Modern Strawbale House
 
(link)
A short slide show showing our Morocco Modern house on YouTube! (with music)


 
Our Blog!
 
(link)
Visit our blog!


 
Sonoma Haven
 
(link)
This haven for a retired couple in Sonoma, California, uses traditional passive solar design elements to create a rich and enlivening interior. Features include:

* Passive heating: uses hardly any heat (3-5 days all winter)
* Passive cooling: ~70F indoors while it's +100F outside.
* Exceptional daylighting, even in north-facing rooms
* Lime plaster
* Lime paint
* Milk paint
* Country Kitchen
* Scullery
* Outdoor room in walled courtyard
* Kitchen garden
* Rainwater swimming pond 
* Walled courtyard
* Stained concrete floors
* Beautiful mosaics


 
Sonoma Magazine--Great Story!
 
(link)
"Heidi Porch flies Boeing 747s to Tokyo
for a living, drives a wine tour tram
for Benziger when she’s not in the air, and
once parked a Cessna in the open Pacific a
few hours shy of Hawaii.
But that’s just work. Where Heidi lives
is her life, in an innovative straw-bale home
so comforting it’s like a warm hug when
she walks through her front door...."

A beautifully illustrated article on our house in Kenwood.


 
Visit us on YouTube
 
(link)
Projects and principles on our YouTube channel.


 
Wine Country House
 
(link)
A slide show featuring our design/build house in Sonoma's wine country.


 
 

Books

New Organic Architecture--The Breaking Wave
 
(link)
David Pearson's beautifully illustrated review of architecture inspired by the creative forces of nature, and the subtle human energies of the body.


 
...many, many more books!
 
(link)
A bibliography from GreenBuilding.com


 
Built by Hand
 
(link)
A comprehensive survey, beautifully illustrated, of vernacular building around the world.


 
Design Like You Give a Damn
 
(link)
A compendium of innovative projects from around the world that demonstrate the power of design to improve lives, this book offers a history of the movement toward socially conscious design and showcases more than 80 contemporary solutions to such urgent needs as basic shelter, health care, education, and access to clean water, energy, and sanitation.


 
Ecological Design, Sim Van der Ryn & Stuart Cowan
 
(link)
This book is a thoughtful, somewhat academic discussion of the theory and practice of ecological design, covering the following five principles: 
*Solutions grow from place
*Ecological accounting informs design
*Design with nature
*Everyone is a designer
*Make nature visible


 
Italian Hilltowns
 
(link)
Beautiful photographs of vernacular masonry construction.


 
Natural Home Magazine
 
(link)
This is a high-quality consumer magazine on healthy and environmentally responsible homes, with good technical content as well as gloss. Each issue features sustainable, healthy homes, decorating tips, and the latest green products and services. More products and information are available from their website.


 
Small Strawbale
 
(link)
A collection of the best small strawbale buildings, beautifully photographed. A good "idea" book. Features some Skillful Means projects.


 
The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes
 
(link)
Full of pictures of fine bale homes. Features Skillful Means projects


 
The Natural House
 
(link)
This comprehensive introduction to natural building systems and practices covers straw bale, rammed earth, log homes, earthships, cob construction, and other natural building systems. It also includes interviews with the leading proponents of each system, detail on the overarching principles relating to sustainable design, and information on emerging natural-building systems.


 
The Straw Bale House
 
(link)
Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, one of the first, and still one of the finest books on strawbale homes and their construction.


 
Your Green Home: A Guide to Planning a Healthy, Environmentally Friendly New Home
 
(link)
Written for homeowners planning a new home, whether they are working with an architect or builder or serving as their own general contractor. 
Focused on improving the overall environmental performance of new houses, the book covers such issues as where to build, energy-efficient design, renewable energy opportunities, material selection, indoor environmental quality, landscaping, and tips for living in a green home.


 
 

Papers & Technical

Building Limes Forum
 
(link)
Information on limes from Great Britain.


 
buildingscience.com
 
(link)
building science.com provides objective, high-quality information about buildings. This resource combines building physics, systems design concepts, and an awareness of sustainability to promote the design and construction of buildings that are more durable, healthier, more sustainable and more economical than most buildings built today.


 
Environmental & Energy Study Institute Briefing on Strawbale
 
(link)
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) in Washington hosted a briefing about straw-bale construction and how it can help address some of our most serious national policy challenges such as record energy prices and unemployment, inadequate supply of affordable housing, the threat of climate change, and pressing needs in transportation and infrastructure funding. The modern building industry places heavy demands on the energy and transportation sectors. Straw is a locally-sourced, widely available, and renewable resource that builders, architects, engineers, and home owners are turning into affordable, safe, durable, and energy-efficient buildings.


 
Home Energy Magazine
 
(link)
The best magazine covering weatherization, energy inspection, and residential energy efficiency. Targeted primarily at energy inspectors and weatherization professionals, Homeenergy.org provides full text of all issues from 1993 through 1998, plus feature articles from more recent issues. Good, clear information for both professionals and consumers.


 
Principles of Sustainability
 
(link)
The Hannover Principles aim to provide a platform upon which designers can consider how to adapt their work toward sustainable ends.


 
Straw Bale Shear Walls
 
(link)
Six full-scale straw-bale shear walls were constructed and tested at the Civil Engineering Research Lab (CERL) in Urbana-Champaign. 

Tipping Mar + associates reports and posters. 
 


 
Straw Bale Vault Test/Tipping Mar + associates
 
(link)
Tipping/Mar, structural engineering firm, designed the Harrison Residence roof vault from first principles using methods similar to those for reinforced concrete. In order to to validate the design concepts and convince a skeptical building department, a test was conducted on a full scale prototype "slice" of the vault. The structure remained stable as it was loaded well into the plastic deformation range.


 
The Last Straw
 
(link)
Up-to-date information and resources for straw-bale construction in the US and elsewhere. 


 
 

Workshops

Clay and Lime
 
(link)
Workshops on working with natural plasters


 
Events in Your Area
 
(link)
WiseEarth searchable database for workshops and other events throughout the world.


 
Natural Building workshops
 
(link)
Worldwide listing of workshops on natural building, from the Natural Building Network


 
San Francisco Institute of Architecture
 
(link)
Degree programs in architecture, ecological design, green business,green project management, green building.


 
The California Straw Building Association
 
(link)
THE CALIFORNIA STRAW BUILDING ASSOCIATION (CASBA) offers ongoing workshops.


 
WiserEarth Community !!
 
(link)

WiserEarth serves the people who are transforming the world. It is a community directory and networking forum that maps and connects non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses, governments, and individuals addressing the central issues of our day: climate change, poverty, the environment, peace, water, hunger, social justice, conservation, human rights and more. Content is created and edited by people like you.


 
Workshops on Straw Bale
 
(link)
A collection of workshops from around the country.


 
 

Potluck

10K Webdesign
 
(link)
Web design and development for small businesses, membership organizations, and trade groups


 
Chagdud Gonpa
 
(link)
Our friends and neighbors in Junction City


 
John's Photos
 
(link)
Photos of Tibet and Tibetan lamas, taken by John Swearingen of Skillful Means


 
Organic Rice
 
(link)
Our client and friends, Greg and Raquel Massa can ship you the best organic rice in America!


 
Peaches from Heaven
 
(link)
Our clients Al and Becky grow the best stone fruit in America! You have to taste it to believe!


 
Strawbale Design & Construction in Southern California
 
(link)
Janet Johnston, architect and builder is co-founder of Skillful Means. Janet is a licensed architect and general contractor. Graduate of University of Cincinnati (B.Arch.) Experience working in several architectural offices, including Robert Stern and Antoine Predock. Janet began working with Skillful Means in 1994. She has taught and built straw bale in Mongolia under a grant for international assistance. Member of Advisory Board of CASBA. Published in Fine Homebuilding and Journal of Light Construction. She and her husband operate StrongArm Construction. http://www.strongarmconstruction.com/


 
Tibetan Treasures
 
(link)
Neat stuff you can buy (or just look at)!


 
 

Codes & Testing

Buildings of Earth & Straw
 
(link)
Provides technical data from an engineers perspective. Information includes: special construction requirements of earth and straw; design capabilities and limitations of these materials; and most importantly, the documentation of testing that building officials often require.


 
Design of Straw Bale Buildings
 
(link)
A design manual for practicing professionals, as well as teachers, drawing on the collective experience of the most senior and respected figures in the rapidly-emerging field of straw bale construction. 
This book provides truly useful information to architects, engineers, building officials and builders who want to design intelligently with plastered straw bales.


 
Links to Straw Bale Codes
 
(link)
Straw bale codes and testing information, from DCAT


 
Project Management
 
(link)
Vicki Vaughn, a former Skillful Meanie, now provides Project Management services in the Bay Area


 
Public Safety Codes for all states
 
(link)
A bulk resource for public safety codes, free codes and other government information.


 
Straw Bale Test information
 
(link)
Test results and other information from Ecological Building Network


 
Strawbale Guidelines for Wet & Humid Climates
 
(link)
A paper by Graeme North, in New Zealand


 
 

Environmental Links

A Buddhist Response to Global Warming
 
(link)
Interviews, teachings, videos and prayers of aspiration for the environment by the greatest living masters of Buddhism alive today.

The poison of global warming due to the harnessing of machines in all places and times,
Is causing the existing snow mountains to melt,
And the oceans will consequently bring the world within reach of the aeon’s end.
Grant your blessings that the world may be protected from these conditions!


 
BuildingGreen.com
 
(link)
An independent publishing company committed to accurate, unbiased, and timely green design information.

BuildingGreen brings the best research, thinking, and writing to you through many publications, including Environmental Building News, the GreenSpec directory of green products, and the BuildingGreen Suite of online tools.


 
Compaillons--Strawbale in France
 
(link)
Extensive links to bale building in France. 

"Le Réseau Français de la Construction en Paille", aussi appelé "Les Compaillons" est une association loi 1901 qui à pour but de réunir les différents acteurs et actrices de la construction en paille en France. Ses adhérents sont: 

* des auto-constructeurs 
* des artisans 
* des architectes 
* des maitres d'ouvrage 
* des formateurs 
* des associations 


 
Envirolink Network
 
(link)
EnvironLink Network is a large resource database for the environmental community.


 
Green Home Guide
 
(link)
Unbiased reviews of green products by professionals.


 
Kiva--Person to Person Microlending
 
(link)
1) Lenders like you browse profiles of entrepreneurs in need, and choose someone to lend to. When they lend, using PayPal or their credit cards, Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of our microfinance partners worldwide. 

2) Kiva's microfinance partners distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur. Often, our partners also provide training and other assistance to maximize the entrepreneur's chances of success. 

3) Over time, the entrepreneur repays their loan. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and emailed to lenders who wish to receive them. 

4) When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds.


 
Kiva--Person to Person Microlending
 
(link)
1) Lenders like you browse profiles of entrepreneurs in need, and choose someone to lend to. Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of our microfinance partners worldwide. 

2) Kiva's microfinance partners distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur. Often, our partners also provide training and other assistance to maximize the entrepreneur's chances of success. 

3) Over time, the entrepreneur repays their loan. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and emailed to lenders who wish to receive them. 

4) When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds.


 
Slide Show: words of Thomas Berry
 
(link)
Thomas Berry, the 'founding father' of the environmental movement. 
"We see quite clearly that what happens to the non-human, happens to the human. What happens to the outer, happens to the inner."


 
Surfin' Strawbale
 
(link)
The complete, unexpurgated, alphabetical, annotated compendium, presented for your pleasure in its entirety on one gargantuan page


 
Sustainable Urban Living
 
(link)
A model for ecological urban homesteads. How to do it right in the city!


 
The Story of Stuff
 
(link)
Stuff: Where does it come from; where does it go?

Annie Leonard puts it all together in 20 minutes.


 
WiserEarth Community
 
(link)

WiserEarth serves the people who are transforming the world. It is a community directory and networking forum that maps and connects non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses, governments, and individuals addressing the central issues of our day: climate change, poverty, the environment, peace, water, hunger, social justice, conservation, human rights and more. Content is created and edited by people like you.


 
WiserEarth directory
 
(link)
WiserEarth is a community directory and networking forum that maps and connects non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses, governments, and individuals addressing the central issues of our day: climate change, poverty, the environment, peace, water, hunger, social justice, conservation, human rights and more. Content is created and edited by people like you.