We are building our home and planning our permaculture garden. A trip to Italy and Germany three years ago has been the inspiration for our build. Ralf and I visited Italian and German farms dating back to the 1400’s. One of the common themes with many of the properties was the way buildings were grouped together to create wind breaks, and to diminish walking distances between the farmers home and her/his work buildings. The result was farming properties with wonderful piazzas where community could gather and celebrate life.
So our build in Daylesford includes a large barn for storing animal feed, tractor, garden tools, firewood and bales of wheat or lucerne. An accommodation building for paying Agricultural guests or woofers, and our home. The buildings are grouped to create a piazza, where an ornamental garden will be cultivated and where celebrations can take place. The west face is at present open to a view of the wetland, but will eventually have large trees planted there to protect us from the harsh summer sun.
The accommodation building and our home are both built from Light-earth construction, which originated in Germany in the 20th Century. Light-earth combines straw (woodchip or other fibrous material) with a mixture of wet clay. Form work is built and the mixture is pressed in and allowed to dry. A render of lime or clay completes the build.
Just outside of Freiburg, Germany, a fantastic organic farm over 100 years old, with extensive productive farm buildings grouped to create a piazza and to provide protection for its residents. Note the extensive solar system, there must be well above 50kW of power produced here.
The buildings are grouped to create a wind barrier and to increase walking/working efficiency. The central space becomes a comfortable wind protected social gathering place.
There are a range of different buildings. I wish I’ d had the opportunity to find out their function.
Light-earth detail from an early 20th Century farm house in Germany: a different property to the one showing in the above pictures.
Eganstown/Daylesford, Victoria . The barn is positioned to the south and protects the light -earth construction of the accommodation building and main house.
Accommodation building for farm guests and woofers. This pictures shows the cosy communal kitchen entrance.
Building detail: these double glazed doors have been imported from Germany via Timber Tech, for the simple reason that to obtain a similar quality product from the Australian equivalent would have cost us double the price, making it impossible for us to use a high quality glazing product on this build. As windows and doors are weak spots of the building envelope: a great deal of heat is lost or gained, it was important to us to use a glazing option that diminished our long term energy use. Paarhammer produce an excellent (really brilliant) product here in Australia. We have used them on a smaller project and have been extremely happy.
Accommodation building: the first two doors in the foreground represent a bedroom each. The third door leads into the communal kitchen.
Main house. Second storey sits inside the attic space.
Looking out into the piazza from the front entrance door.
The guest accommodation is placed snug to the main house so that communication between us and our guests is easy .
Looking out from the lounge room into the north.
Ralf, plans and planning.
Door and window lintels.
Corridor: ground floor leading to bathroom and guest bedroom.
A tired ralf.
Barn and an occupied Artemisia.
Artemisia and mud.