May 29, 2013
The Big Bad Wolf huffed, puffed and blew down a pig-built straw house, but the windy wolf might have met his match in a modern straw bale house. With some design specializations, a straw bale house might even be able to survive a tornado, like the one that recently killed 24 people in Oklahoma.
Architect Joseph Bilello's experiments using the “tornado cannon” at Texas Tech University suggested that straw bales could be used to make tornado-resistant homes. The tornado cannon shoots 2x4's at up to 100 mph at structures to test their resilience to projectiles flung by a tornado. At that speed wood beats rock. The blazing-fast boards shoot though brick walls and straw bales alike.