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GBlist: Re:Housing Costs

Thanks for all the comments on this topic.  I'd like to hear more, 
including those contrary to my own.

Normally I would never use a free forum to counter another person, but a 
particular comment needs a further explanation from myself.

I originally wrote, regarding the "straw-clay" method of construction:

>>If you have a few years to spend, this produces an incredible building
>>with great heart and soul.  I couldn't help but note, in India they don't
>>build this way because its too labor intensive!   A sobering thought
>>considering our lifestyles.

Then on 8/20/97 7:00 AM Lynne Elizabeth wrote:

>I suspect Buzz has never built a straw clay building, as they are fairly
>efficient to construct.  Parts can even be prefabricated. ...  (snipped) ...
>         Straw clay, (also known as slip straw, light clay, lehmbau,
>leichtlehm or rammed straw) is slower than strawbale, but certainly faster
>than cob.  Bill and Athena Steen are currently using adobe size straw clay
>blocks to build with in Mexico, because they find it so easy.  The blocks
>can be lifted by women and children  They make even, straight walls that
>the locals favor, and they do not have to worry about the straw clay wall
>getting wet inside the way they do with strawbale.  Straw clay requires
>simple removable forms to shape panels, bricks, tiles or whole wall
>sections.  It is relatively well known in Germany and other parts of
>Northern Europe, where there are hundreds of lehmbau contractors and some
>of the materials are available in building supply stores.  Robert LaPorte
>is the best known teacher of it in this country - contact the Natural House
>Building Center in Santa Fe, 505/471-5314.  You can also contact Frank
>Andresen at the Fox Maple School of Traditional Building in Maine
>207/935-3720, where he teaches in during the summer.

Confession:  I have a personal emotional attachment to this particular 
issue.  And yes, I have never built a straw clay house (nor a mobile home 
or an igloo;  there's lots of things I've never done). 

Robert LaPorte was actually my inspiration for writing the article "How 
NOT To Build A House".  As I said, the strawclay method is quite viable, 
and produces a wonderful result; however here is the background for my 

I once attended one of his workshops ... well, one day of his workshop.  
I found him to be a crazed egomaniac;  a One True Believer personality 
type who made the Jehova's Witness's that call at your door seem like 
wonderfull people to have a conversation with, and who tried to create a 
climate of cultdom around his particula