As evidenced in his own workshop and home remodel, Jim Furness is a contractor with exceptional skill and experience in green building, including straw bale walls, earth plasters and living roofs. He also took the wonderful photographs of wildlife on top his workshop, clearly a living roof!
Located near Santa Rosa, CA, the rural site of this workshop is located downhill from Jim's home. In order not to detract from the wonderful panoramic views of Bennett Valley, the pad for the shop was cut into the hillside and a living roof takes off from the upper meadow and sweeps over the building, blending it with the landscape as seen from uphill. A Gabion retaining wall was used to minimize the use of concrete, and the buffer space between the hill and the building is for covered material storage. The walls are of straw bale construction with earth plasters, log poles from the site support the curved glulam beams. For good daylighting and passive solar performance, windows span most of the South wall, which is braced with external buttresses, like bookends.