Playground - The straw must go on !

Playground - The straw must go on !
Feu Maison
Embark on a research by design project delving into the untapped potential of straw and fiber architecture to ignite post-growth imaginaries.

Feu Maison
Brussels, Belgium
Feu Maison is a collective of practicing architects, teachers and researchers based in Brussels, engaged in hybrid, DIY, and radical practices.
Team members
Ben Clark
Isis Desmaison
Yohann Hubert
Ali Ismail
Nicolas Jonard
Julien Marie
Timothée Raviol
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Ecology, Research, Other
Project category
Material tracking and reuse
Project submitted

Feu Maison is an open collective based in Brussels, comprising practicing architects, teachers, and researchers. Our approach integrates various disciplines such as small-scale architecture, DIY design, publication, teaching, and theoretical work, fostering a comprehensive reflection on transforming professional practices and imaginaries within the construction sector.

Benefiting from a long-term collaboration with Brussels-based architecture office BC architects & studies, focused on raw earth construction, and Rotor DC, specialized in the reuse of materials, Ali, Timothée, Julien, Isis, Yohann, Nicolas, and Ben created Feu Maison (house fire), named in reference to the introductory speeches of the IVth Earth Summit in Johannesburg: "Our house is burning, and we are looking elsewhere."

As an inaugural project, "Kanaalslang", which secured an honorable 3rd place in a competition for the future bar-restaurant at the upcoming Kanal - Centre Pompidou museum in Brussels. This project emphasized the use of reused materials and prioritized the well-being of workers, cooks, and servers.

Currently, our endeavors involve showcasing underrated, even forgotten, pioneers of ecological counter cultural architecture movement from the 1970s and 1980s.We document these encounters through diverse mediums such as small publications, short films, and audio interviews, aiming to understand their journey and contemporary perspectives on the global ecological and social situation.

Aligned with the degrowth principles of Serge Latouche, we strive to contribute to the decolonization of imaginaries, challenging industrial and ascetic economic legacies.

Derived from agricultural industry residues, fiber-based construction materials, such as various types of straw, offer exceptional resources for ecological architecture. Moreover, unlike other ecological materials such as wood or earth, straw and its derivatives boast excellent thermal insulation properties.
In our inaugural construction project, "La Maison Caro," we delve into the potential of straw self-construction. We've found it to be not only easy to handle and safe for health but also enjoyable to work with and, above all, playful. Straw has the remarkable ability to transform a construction site into a veritable playground.
Through the utilization of natural fibers in self-construction—whether fully or partially—we firmly believe in the feasibility of crafting high-quality ecological architecture accessible to even the most modest households. Recent advancements in research also enable the thermal insulation of existing collective buildings with straw. As architects, guiding self-construction allows us to reconsider the relationship dynamics between architect, producer, and inhabitant. Moreover, it prompts a reevaluation of our interaction with technology, fostering an approach geared towards simplifying techniques, assemblies, and architectural details.
However, our approach isn't solely technical; it's deeply cultural, as we study the historical and anthropological dimensions of straw usage in architecture. Through demonstrative projects, residencies, and workshops, we aim to uncover the narrative potential inherent in straw and plant fiber architecture, exploring visual and aesthetic cultures contrary to industrial ascetic canons. As we continue to expand our understanding and practice, we remain committed to pushing the boundaries of sustainable bio-based architecture and reimagining the built environment for our generations. The straw must go on !