I am in the process of designing a small traditional
Japanese house for myself. I am trying to use as many
natural materials as possible. I believe one of the
traditional methods was the use of clay in the exterior
walls and finish. I would like to stay away from treated
plywood if I can. Could you offer some suggestions?
Answer / guest
Buildings which are usually post and beam construction with
the finest timber joinery and detailing (no nails), often
using beautiful stone for foundations. The infill between
the post and beam structure (leaving the timber structure
exposed) is usually something like the british wattle and
daub. Woven branches or bamboo or fine pieces of timber are
covered with earthen mix which contains straw, then earth
plastered and very often covered with a very smooth thin
lime render externally and left as an earthen plaster
finish internally. The earthen plasters are made very fine
The wall of such a house is usually quite thin, the
internal partitions are made of wood and paper, therefore
the house can be very cold in the winter months. If you are
building in a colder climate my advise would be to have
thicker walls.....The roof of the house was often made of
incredibly thick thatch.The plan of the house is usually
designed in a 'tatami' (japanese bed) module, so the layout
of partitions is flexible and can be changed if necessary.
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I am building a house in Iowa by the strict requirements and dimensionality of Sthapatya-ved. As you probably know, these dimensions are specific to certain harmonic structures generated by the architectural style and my astologic chart. The outer walls will be approximately 10.5 inches thick. I would like to use some sort of straw/clay mixture, but I also live in a very cold climate. It is not unusual to have -10 degree temperatures for several weeks on end. I have friends who built with rammed earth and their environment is miserable during winter, always fighting the fly-wheeling of energy in the earth structure. Can you shed any light on the true insulation value of a straw clay mixture in this climate.
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