Blending Old and New Building Technologies

A workshop participant builds a Larsen truss using a jig. "That person had never handled a nailgun before that day," says Robert LaPorte. Classes typically include a mix of professional tradespeople and owner-builders.

Two workers fork a mix of clay and straw into the wall-frame cavities. The mix provides a combination of insulation and thermal mass, and, says design-builder Robert LaPorte, effectively manages moisture in the wall.

After filling the form with clay and straw, a worker tamps down the mix with his feet.

A trainee removes temporary formwork from the outside of the Larsen-truss double wall after clay and straw have set up and dried.

This is what the outside face of the double wall looks like after formwork is stripped.

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