About Us

Straw Works Ltd., which now trades under the name Wellspring Architecture, was formerly an architectural design company committed to natural, low energy, healthy buildings. It was set up by Barbara Jones in 2011, initially offering design, training and build services. After the formation of the School of Natural Building in August 2014, Straw Works went on to focus exclusively on Architectural Design services. 

As of 2021, Barbara stepped down from her role as Director, and Straw Works has been renamed Wellspring Architecture. The change sees architectural services continue through Matt Bailey, who joined the Straw Works team in 2018 and became a Director in 2019. Barbara continues to work with Wellspring Architecture as a consultant, to help inform and guide projects.

The Straw Works website continues to exist, now serving as a directory for services and information on natural building.

Over the years Barbara (formerly of Amazon Nails and amazonails) and her team have designed and built many beautiful and durable residential and commercial buildings using straw bales and other 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.

Read more about Barbara and the previous iterations of Straw Works by following the link below:

Why we do it

Straw Works was founded on a 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.