Houses of straw - 10 years later

  • DVD
  • PAL, 16:9, 63 min
  • plus 17 minutes Bonus-Tracks
  • Languages (voice over): German, English, French
  • Subtitles: Espanol, Portuges, Italiano, Nederlands
  • 2nd revised edition 2015
  • DVD: 18,00 EUR


Rent for 1 week or buy unlimited streaming access - in HD!
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or buy the two DVD´s together: Houses of straw part 1 and 2 for 29,90 € (you save 6,10 Euros!)


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Prive for renewable energies and resources 2014 International Filmfestival for Environment, Health and Cutlure, Jakarta 2015 Ekotopfilmfestival Bratislava 2015 Going Green Film Festival 2015 Kuala Lumpur Eco Filmfestival 2015

"The best strawbale film ever!"
Dirk Scharmer, architect, German strawbale association

"Absolutely fascinating, charming, extremely insightful!"
Stefan Reichmann, engineer and carpenter

"A great contribution to the change of values that´s so much called for"
Sebastian David, Sound Designer

"Without having seen this film, I never thought you can build modern, efficient and beautiful homes with straw!"
Ute Knab, viewer at the premiere

"Interesting, sympathique, inspiring and very professionally done. I´d love to become a strawbuilder myself"
Claus Strigel, documentary filmmaker, Denkmalfilm


Filmmaker Heidi Snel and cameraman Malcolm St.Julian Bown take you on a journey through the German strawbale landscape..
10 years after the first film they made on strawbale building, they went on the road again, to visit strawbale buildings.
Watching the film, we travel with them, visiting strawbale homes that were built 10 years ago, when the first film was done. We find out: did these strawbale houses prove in practice?

Then, on new building sites, we can see which new buildings get built and what the new building techniques are. We hear about the new, certified building product "Building Bales", and we visit the first course of students of the first official strawbale building training. Finally, we can watch the building of the biggest strawbale building in Germany, with 5 storeys!

Strawbales have become a serious alternative in ecological building. They are healthy, and save our climate in many ways: straw stores carbon dioxide, it is extremely energy-low in production, and it has very good insulation values.

The film is a beautiful, one hour journey through the issue of building with bales. Exciting, insightful and inspiring.


10 year old strawbale home of Family Schier

In Lower Saxony, we visit the house of the Schier family. The film team had filmed the building of the house 10 years ago. How are they doing in their house today? Owner builder Susanne Schier tells us about her allergies having disappeared, we hear about initial problems with the lime plaster - and Florian Schier sais: we would build with straw again any time!


Strawbale post and beam house in Northeast Brandenburg

We visit a recent building site in Brandenburg. The post and beam technique used here is effective and fast. Architect Friederike Fuchs has adjusted the size of the framework to the size of the strawbales. In a one-week seminar the walls of the complete house get filled with strawbales. The result: a highly insulated, healthy home which is better than the German energy saving regulations by 60 percent!


Prefabrication of wall elements - plastering the straw with lime


We drive on to Hesse: here, a one family home is built in prefabrication. Builder Michael Fischer is heading the production of wall elements made of wood and straw, coated with a first layer of lime plaster. Independant of weather conditions, the construction work inside the hall is effective and fast. In a timelapse, we can follow the final erection of the wall elements on the building site.


A product stamp for a building material right on the field - unique!

The German strawbale association has obtained a national technical approval for building with strawbales. One result of their research is a certified building product called "Building bales", which has a guarantee and product liability. Bales can be certified locally, even on the field!


Werner Schmidt loves building with jumbo bales

One of the most famous strawbale and award-winning architects is Werner Schmidt in Switzerland. He builds with jumbo bales only. We visit one of his recent building sites, interview him in his inspiring atelier and he shows us one of his oldest strawbale houses. It´s loadbearing and 10 years old - looks as good as new!

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The biggest strawbale building in Germany - 5 storeys!

In Northern Germany, we watch the biggest strawbale building being built: the "Centre for sustainable building" has five storeys.
Federal minister of economy, Olaf Lies, congratulates - after all, his ministery supported the project with more than 4 million Euros from the European social fund.

The DVD contains 3 Bonus-Tracks:

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Training "Professional strawbale builder"

BONUS TRACK 1: Training "Professional Strawbale Builder"
The German strawbale association has developed a training for builders, who want to become professional strawbale builders. We visit the first trainees. Professionals such are invited as guest teachers: Barbara Jones from the UK and Herbert Gruber from Austria show their favourite building methods.

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Strawbale vaults in North-East Germany

BONUS TRACK 2: Strawbale vaults
In North-East Germany we find unusual shapes made of straw: five strawbale vaults get built by professor Gernot Minke and a team of international young people. Minke loves the shapeability of strawbales. A specially developed straw-sas can cut conical shapes - perfect for building seamless vaults!


Martin Stengel shows the 10 year old clay plaster

BONUS TRACK 3: Clay plastered house - 10 Jahre old

In the Ecovillage Sieben Linden we visit Martin Stengel, who built his first strawbale house 10 years ago. Totally by hand, without machines, they build a 2 storey building of wood, straw and clay. We are especially interested in the clay plaster on the outside of the house: did it survive the weather conditions? Clay plastering on the outside is a risk in rainy regions. The result is surprisingly good.


The best straw-film ever! It has a quiet, concentrated, friendly atmosphere. Being a non-builder, the filmmaker has successfully presented facts and details. The film keeps saying the right things, combined with great pictures.
Dirk Scharmer, German strawbale association

Heidi Snel made a wonderful film! I liked the return to buildings which were built and filmed 10 years ago. But also the choice of recent building projects was done well. I love most that you can SEE how much fun it is to build with straw.
Benedikt Kaesberg, carpenter, Baustroh Incorporated

A film that creates the wish to build like that.
Christiane Degenhardt, Berlin

I am very touched and inspired by this film. It presents the important knowledge in an appealing way.  Both laymen and professionals can use this film well. Very recommendable!
Dorothee Bornath, audience of the Premiere

A superb, inspiring and informative film about the building material straw, and about those great people who believed in it and are proving right now. Without having seen this film, I never thought you can build modern, efficient and beautiful homes with straw!"
Ute Knab, audience of the Premiere

A great contribution to the change of values that´s so much called for
Sebastian David, audience of the Premiere

Absolutely fascinating, charming, extremely insightful!
Stefan Reichmann, engineer and carpenter

I was most impressed by the comparison of energy efficiency (which was really well done): building a "normal" house produces carbon dioxide. Building a strawbale wall "eats up" carbon dioxide. Storing the greenhouse gas in the wall saves our climate!
Gabriele Krauskopf, Bad Belzig

Thanks for the bonus material - it´s a lovely addition!
Gabriele Küther-Staudler, audience of the Premiere

We want to build an ecovillage in Southern Germany, and we had planned to only build the dwelling houses with strawbales. In the film I found out that we can also build the non-residential buildings with straw!
Roswitha Kugelmann
Chairwoman of "contact in Augsburg e.V"

Your film enables a beautiful, loving glimpse into the younger history and today´s strawbale building. There is a development, starting from individual ideas into ready to go into production.
Kay Hoffmann, strawbale owner-builder

Great film that shows how much fun it is to build with straw!
Nancy Müller, Bad Belzig


You can have acces to our press site with texts about the film and high-resolution pictures.
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This film was supported by a number of people. The biggest part was promoted by the IKEA foundation. but there were other supporters, too.



Heidi Snel und Malcolm St.Julian Bown

An ÖKOFILM production
Director: Heidi Snel
Camera: Malcolm St.Julian Bown
Music: Thomas Rottenbücher and others

© 2014 Ökofilm Heidi Snel