Had a new article at JetsonGreen about a “pop-up restaurant” that was only in place for a few weeks before it was taken down again. The main building was built with strawbales, but more as an infill than as loadbearing structure (at least that’s how it looks from the images I’ve been able to find.

The creators of the restaurant, and of the building system used to build it, didn’t respond to a couple email questions, so I had to go by guesswork and what I could deduce. I also had to rely on a very kind blogger and artist named Melissa Mai who took a few pictures of the building in Sydney and who allowed us to use them for the JetsonGreen article. If she hadn’t, we wouldn’t have had an article. Since I didn’t also ask for permission from her to use the images on my own blog, I will instead point you to the JetsonGreen article or to her own review of the restaurant.

I wouldn’t want to use the Productive Building system for a strawbale building in this region. It might work in some places, but the greatest benefit of a strawbale is the heavy insulation value it provides. Short-circuiting that every couple of feet along the length of the building doesn’t seem an especially good idea, and that’s what would happen with the metal framing channels.

And I think I have a fundamental bias against short-term constructions, too, even if everything is reused or recycled. There may be cases where short term structures are needed, but in general, I think that examples like this over-emphasize the materials and under-emphasize labor and transportation and energy. Recycling isn’t energy independent, either; it’s a second best solution.

But let’s not venture into ‘The perfect is the enemy of the good’ territory. While I can pick on some things with this, it’s still an interesting system and it seems to have made a perfectly wonderful though short-lived restaurant in Sydney.

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