Straw bale building allows you to be creative and lends itself well to curved and circular shapes and Didimala Game Lodge is a superb example of the creative and artistic use of straw bales.
Situated just an hour’s journey from Pretoria is what is thought to be the world’s largest straw bale structure, Didimala Game Lodge. Didimala is certainly the first recorded straw bale structure in Africa, registered with the International Straw Bale Registry project.
Created from 10,000 wheat straw bales, Didimala Game Lodge has been uniquely and sensitively designed for the executive providing luxury, comfort and sophisticated conference equipment in a Bushveld setting. The Lodge and its buildings are extraordinarily beautiful.
The uniqueness of Didimala was recognised when it was selected to host the World Summit on Progressive Governance in Feb 2006.
In the construction of Didimala a system of post-beam thatch roof with a mixture of brick and straw bale walls was employed.
Colin and Allison Marincowitz, the owners of Didimala Lodge can be justifiably proud of this incredible achievement. We should be too! It’s in our beautiful country and it is “probably” (see footnote below) the largest straw bale construction in the world and it is an outstanding example of what can be done using alternative building methods.
“We hope that by constructing Didimala Game Lodge from straw bales as practical alternatives to current high-imbedded energy building materials we will provide high exposure to green building methods and encourage the much needed dialogue and debate concerning sustainability of everything on this planet.”
Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photographs here to see just how mammoth an undertaking this truly was. Please also visit the Didimala website for more technical information on straw bale building as well as the Didimala Construction Method Statement which is available to download. It details their journey through the actual construction.
Colin has sent me heaps of other interesting information about straw bale building and I will be publishing this in the next few days. So, watch this space.
Footnote: Colin tells me that they have contacted Guinness Book to ascertain whether or not this is the largest straw bale construction in the world but they kindly indicated that they publish less than 10,000 of world records in the book but have certified hundreds of thousands of records and the "interesting factor" of their claim does not warrant the costs for research into the matter. Their "probable" claim however sets loose a mini worldwide debate on blogs every now and again on whether the quantity of bales or footprint area should be taken as a measure.