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No. 66, Winter 2015

Update on Straw Bale Building in Pakistan

By Darcy DonovanFebruary 26, 2015May 9th, 2022No Comments

By Darcy Donovan

2014 has been a year of discovery and progress for PAKSBAB, with 40 straw bale buildings under our belt and our sights on a permaculture center in the year ahead.

The final coat of lime wash is applied to the Multi-Gardens house

The final coat of lime wash is applied to the Multi-Gardens house

In January we finished a model straw bale house in Multi-Gardens CDA Sector near Islamabad, an upscale location with convenient access. The design has become our flagship with two bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen, basic plumbing and electrical, concrete floors and a veranda.

In July we completed our 5th house for the organization SCIPPER, which cares for women and children paralyzed in the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake. The wheelchair accessible house was built in Rawalpindi for Rubina Saleem and her family. Her situation for the past 9 years has been extremely difficult and having a warm safe home will improve her life and help restore her dignity.

For those of you who have been following PAKSBAB’s Seismic Research Project over the years,

the executive summary and experimental report for the in-plane cyclic wall experiments and the house shake table experiment are available in the BuildWell Library at If you wish to delve deeper, the report as well as the data, graphs, drawings, photos and videos are available to view and download in the NEEShub Project Warehouse at

We’re eagerly looking ahead to 2015 with the goal to build a permaculture center, highlighting food forests, vegetable gardens, animal husbandry, biogas, water management, appropriate technology and natural building/straw bale construction. A small plot of land can be extremely productive, able to feed and support an entire family. As part of the permaculture center, we will also conduct training courses for the local and regional community. We’re very excited about this expanded direction, as it will be self-sustaining for PAKSBAB and a lifeline for families at the bottom of the pyramid.

Click here to see a video of the 4th and 8th/final shake table trials

Click here to see a video of the 4th and 8th/final shake table trials

If you’re interested to support us in this “ground breaking” project, please visit our website and make a tax-deductible donation through our fiscal sponsor Builders Without Borders (memo PAKSBAB) – thank you!

Darcey Donovan, P.E., C.E.O.

Pakistan Straw Bale and Appropriate Building (PAKSBAB)

PAKSBAB builds high-performance natural homes and improves livelihoods for marginalized families in Pakistan. The organization has been working in northern Pakistan since 2006, in the wake of the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake which killed 73,000 people, injured 130,000 and left more than 3.5 million homeless.

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