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Revisiting Slovakia: The Straw Bale Dome Project

Posted on Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 at 3:24 pm by Athena & Bill Steen

One of the highlights of our European tour last summer was getting to know the country of Slovakia - the landscape, the people, it’s food and traditional buildings.

We were reminded recently of Slovakia when our friend and host from last summer, architect Zuzana Kierulfova (sounds Slovakian doesn’t it?) sent us a blog update about an ambitious 24 day long workshop/project that she coordinated this last month to build a straw bale dome. The website of her non-profit organization Createrra is: www.createrra.sk

She has been working with professor Gernot Minke at the Universitat Kassel who is widely recognized for his work with earth buildings of all types and has authored several books on the subject. If your German is good or give Google translate a try, you can view his website at: http://gernotminke.de/index.html

Last summer they built a small dome out of compressed earth blocks in Zuzana’s backyard and apparently that wasn’t enough, they got together this summer to construct the straw bale dome. Zuzana recorded the entire process and workshop with really good photos and a blog account that you can view at http://minke-strawbaledome.blogspot.com/ Its can be a little confusing when you go to the site because you will arrive at what was the last stage of the workshop. If you want to see the entire process start to finish, you have to go back to the original blog post on the workshop, that you will see listed in the blog archive for the month of July.

In short, I will say that this was a most ambitious project and Zuzana I would expect to be absolutely exhausted. At least I would be. Again, without reading the blog in its entirety, I would guess the dome to have been a Minke design, the construction overseen by him and a whole lot of other people working to make it happen. Knowing how workshops go and how they end, I would expect that there is a whole lot more work to be done and Zuzana is most likely thinking hard about how that will happen.

Writing about this Slovakian project has also reminded me that there were several pieces I never got to about our trip to Europe. You can expect those in the near future.

Images from the Unesco village of Vlkolinec

Zuzana at work on a clay floor at our Slovakian workshop.

Zuzanas photos on the dome in process.

Read the original post on Bill & Athena’s blog, The Canelo Chronicles.

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