Chartreuse Blog


Cameron Sinclair Visits Tool Lending Library

“Great project, great passion, and completed…”

-Cameron Sinclair

…well almost completed.  There is still work to be done at the Summit House Tool Lending Library before it is up and running but a huge amount of the work is behind us. Cameron Sinclair, Founder and Chief Eternal Optimist of Architecture for Humanity and a speaker at the Plain Green Conference, toured the shed with a few of the project volunteers.  His excitement and encouragement gave us the push we needed to keep moving forward.  The building will be completed by the end of May and the Library will be open for business in early fall 2010.



A Huge Thanks to Our Sponsors!



Workshop Day 2: Plastering

Day #2 of the workshop was just as busy and just as fun. We spent the first half of the day preparing for plaster with stucco mesh and welded wire mesh and the second half of the day applying the first coat of plaster on the exterior of the shed.



Workshop Day 1: Bale Raising

We had over 20 volunteers come out over the course of the first day of the workshop.

Great work everyone!

Work began at 8am by trimming nearly 70 bales with a chain saw to make them perfect blocks to build with. During bale trimming, a second group of volunteers began preparing the sills and columns for bales with gravel, waterproofing, and felt paper.

The first bale…



Puetz Corporation, Presenting Sponsor for Straw Bale Shed

The structure for a straw bale shed, organized by Sioux Falls Seminary and the Sioux Falls Chapter of Architecture for Humanity, has been built at Summit House. The structure will be infilled with straw bales and plastered as a volunteer workshop Tuesday and Wednesday for the Plain Green Conference and Marketplace.

The straw bale shed, located near downtown Sioux Falls in the Pettigrew Height’s Neighborhood, will be a gateway project that may lead to creative thinking about future development in the neighborhood. Sioux Falls Seminary students serving at Summit House hope to eventually use the structure as a Tool Lending Library for the residents of the Pettigrew Heights Neighborhood for simple home maintenance and repair.

Many local contractors and building material suppliers in and around Sioux Falls are responsible for making the straw bale shed a reality. Puetz Corporation, the presenting sponsor, and the Pettigrew Heights Housing Resource Center have provided funds to make this project a hands-on workshop for Plain Green attendees, integrating sustainable building concepts with community stewardship.

Additional co sponsors have offered their time and resources. Amert Construction excavated and poured the foundation. Bruns Construction assembled the post-and-beam frame. Schoeneman’s Building Materials Center, donated lumber used in the structure, and Agan Drywall and TCC Materials have donated plastering mixes, finishes, and accessories. JELD-WEN Millwork donated doors and a window, and Carlson General Carpentry and Big Sioux Construction fi nished the roof.

Also, Koch Hazard Architects and Chartreuse Research have sponsored Joyce Coppinger, an internationally recognized straw bale expert and managing editor and publisher of The Last Straw, to oversee the shed design and workshop.

If you are interested in learning more about straw bale construction or sustainable design, join us at the Plain Green Conference. Register here.



Bruns Finishes Shed Structure, Ready for Roof

Bruns Construction finished up the post-and-beam straw bale shed structure at Summit House yesterday afternoon.  It looks great!  Huge thanks to Bruns Construction! Also, another big thanks goes out to Schoeneman’s for donating all of the lumber.

We are now ready for the standing seam roof.  Check back for construction updates as we near the workshop.



Straw Bale Structure Almost Finished at Summit House

We are almost there… the roof is taking form!

A roof bearing assembly, or box beam, sits above the box columns.  It is constructed of a double 2 x 6 for the exterior perimeter and a single 2 x 6 for the interior perimeter.  The underside of the beam will be sheathed in plywood to act as a fire stop for the wall.  The box column will also act as a nailing strip for the plaster mesh applied over the bales.  The trusses will sit above the roof bearing assembly.

The trusses are up and the fly rafters are being constructed over the drop end.

Plywood sheathing is next.