About Us

Who we are

STRAW WORKS are a leading UK Architectural practice committed to natural, low energy, healthy buildings. We specialise in designing with straw and other natural materials, and are the only practice in the UK who design cement-free foundations as standard.

Barbara Jones (formerly of Amazon Nails and amazonails) and her team have designed many beautiful and durable residential and commercial buildings using straw bales and natural materials.  Collectively they have been involved in some capacity with more than 300 natural buildings in the last 25 years, ranging from tiny garden buildings to the UK’s largest straw bale building to date.

We are based in both Todmorden (West Yorkshire) and Totnes (Devon) and work all over the UK.

Read more about our team by following the links below

What we offer

Formerly, Straw Works offered design, training and build services. However, since the formation of the SCHOOL OF NATURAL BUILDING in August 2014, Straw Works has focused exclusively on Architectural Design services. We have a strong relationship with our sister company, known as SNaB for short. See here for more details.

STRAW WORKS builds on many years of extensive experience and comprehensive knowledge within the field of natural building. We provide exceptional services for self-builders and contractors. Just ask for testimonials.

If you are designing your own straw bale building, it really is a good idea to include Straw Works in the design team from the very beginning and to start with a consultation. We have a lot of experience, and small tweaks in the design phase can save you considerable time and money down the line.

  • Straw Works offers full design packages for planning, building regulations and construction. Unlike most architects, almost all of our designs actually get built!
  • We can offer advice during construction and dependant on the location of the build, conduct site visits for the duration of the works
  • We can also work as design consultants to other architects and designers to provide specialist advice on straw bale and natural building
  • Consultancy with Barbara – Consultations can be arranged over Skype, phone or in person. You send through any plans, sketches, maps, pictures and your questions in advance. Then, at the arranged time, Barbara will have everything in front of her and can answer your questions. Cost for consultancy is only £1 per minute and if you speak for 30 minutes you qualify for the first 10 minutes free (this offer is only available on the first consultancy), so for the first 30 minutes the rate would be just £20.

Why we do it

Everything we do is because of our fundamental belief that everyone should have access to high quality, affordable homes that are healthy and comfortable to live in; and that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy derived from self-building.

Within the context of the climate emergency, it is more important than ever to be working towards a circular economy and away from the linear ‘take-make-waste’ system we see in the construction industry at present. We can do this by extending a building’s life cycle (keeping products and materials in use for longer) and designing out waste and pollution (using natural materials with ‘design for deconstruction’ in mind). Straw is the perfect material to work with as it is in itself a waste product, it sequesters (‘locks in’) carbon and can be composted at the end of a building’s life. By using natural materials in this way, the construction of our homes can be regenerative and build resilience in the face of the climate emergency.

To learn more about the benefits of building with natural materials, see our web pages on Carbon Footprint and Health and Wellbeing.