Welcome to Design 101
Building to the enviroment with rammed earth and strawbale

Welcome to Design 101

Rammed earth and strawbale
Building to the environment with rammed earth and straw bale

This is my first foray into the world of blogging and I have a lot to say.  Firstly, I will introduce myself to give you an idea of where I’m coming from and how I might be able to help you on your OB journey.

My name is Andrew Webb and I am a director of WD Architects based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, along with my business partner Chris Duffy.  We specialise in energy-efficient, sustainable design and actually know what those things mean, unlike much of the industry who seem to think that a green, leafy website is enough.

My particular passions are earth construction and passive solar design, having worked on many aid projects in India, Tibet and China during various stints from 1995 to 2004.  The great challenge in that work is building something from next to nothing, as materials, money and skills are limited, the climate is extreme, and transport is treacherous.  The people are kind, generous and passionate too.  I can’t imagine a better place to work.

We have designed quite a few earth and straw bale buildings in Australia as well, amongst many other things.  Most of our houses are 8 to 10-star energy rated.  But, beyond materials and statistics, the joy and inspiration I find in architecture is through creating beautiful, understated, uplifting and fulfilling spaces with minimal impact on our natural environment, minimal ongoing impact on the wallet and which positively contribute to health and lifestyle.

One of my projects is featured on OBN, the Ryan Residence.

So, if you have questions about any aspect of design, site selection, sustainable materials, energy-efficiency, fitout, colours, unusual materials and techniques, relative costs, or anything else, please ask.

My Qualifications:


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hi Andrew. Nice start. Now if only LGA’s were as enthusiastic as you. Have you had many challenges with earth walls, straw bale etc approvals? BTW, the Ryan House is wonderful!

  2. Thanks. I haven’t had too much drama with earth and straw for residential projects. It is necessary to get a structural engineer to certify the structure. Early on that created some headaches until I found some good engineers to work with for straw bale (earth has never been a problem) – others either flatly refused or else severely over-designed things and made up their own awkward construction details that they then enforced. For me, that is in the past (knock on wood).

    I did have a recent bit of wrangling with a council certifier on a straw bale school project, but was able to satisfy him in the end without making any changes or compromises…the last hurdle on that one was the ‘fire hazard properties’ and I got an expert opinion which doused the problem.

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