The First Straw: Building the First Straw Bale Home in Virginia

Hanuman Bertschy trod where no Virginian had gone before when she built a straw bale home on an ashram just outside of Charlottesville.

To meet building codes, Hanuman needed a vent for the four solar panels she uses as back-up power. Because the cement stucco that covers the home’s exterior lends itself to fanciful sculpting, a friend crafted this elephant eye vent. In Hindu belief, the elephant represents Lord Ganesh, the symbol of the Supreme Self. Hindus invoke Lord Ganesh, said to bestow worldly as well as spiritual success, before they begin any rite or undertake any project.
Photo By Philip Beaurline