Patti Stouter, winner of the $300 House contest, is at it again. Her latest project combines 1. gravel-filled poly bags (earthbag foundation), 2. hyper-adobe (compacted soil in mesh bags), with 3. hyper-wattle (straw filled mesh bags or tubes soaked in clay). The structure is then plastered with earth and lime.
Patti: “I am so pleased with how firm the straw wattle walls on my bench have become. I’m glad I chose a layout that will be an asset to my yard, because the wall is there to stay.
But back to this exciting hyper-wattle material! Any overlap location at a corner does help keep the wall stiffer. I will try a test section with a small pier next. Wood bracing may only be needed when wattle is used as panels between large windows. Horizontal poles would be easy to sew into the nooks and could make it easier to keep the wall perfectly straight. But for areas without much wood, they are not necessary for small rooms with small windows. If you cast the wall (soak the straw wattle in clay slip) in short segments of 3′- 4′ x 30″ high, the wall doesn’t tend to slump or become wavy.
Next week I am going to be able to see how the material will function for a small Nubian vault. It will require some bracing at the top of the vault until the wet wattle firms up. I may have a group of volunteers from Intel to speed the work. This may only be practical for very small rooms, but I’ll let you know how it turns out.”