Hotnitsa, Bulgaria

The Strawbale Studio at Hotnitsa is a loadbearing building designed by the Sutherland family after they were inspired by an introductory course in the UK run by Barbara.

The family created self draining foundations for their studio according to Barbara’s book, Building with Straw Bales. The plinth wall was built by Bulgarian craftsmen and the straw walls were erected during a one week course run by Barbara. There were 14 people on the course and by the end of the week the walls were up, compressed, window & door boxes in place and ready for the roof to be lowered into place.

All joining areas were then covered in hessian and with the help of volunteers the outside of the building was plastered with lime. The Strawbale Studio was built in 2008 and was the first strawbale building in Bulgaria.

The Sutherland family dug, sieved and mixed local clay with chopped straw and sand to make the internal clay plaster:

With the help of a friend, they also created a truth window:

The Sutherlands have known Barbara for several years and without her introductory course, her book, her help with the preparatory work and her teaching on the Hotnitsa course the studio would never have been built.

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