Post and Beam - Embed Posts in the Bales or Not?
I have been recieving quite a few emails lately about the relationship between the straw bales and the posts in a post and beam or timber framed design.
If doing a timber frame it is sometimes appealing to expose the posts on the inside in order to show the structure of the building. The bales in this case are just insulation and wall material. This could save time because you will not have to notch around the posts, you just stack them, prep them for plaster, and then plaster. If you choose this route be aware that since your bales will not be in the same plane as the structure you will still need to design a system that keeps them elevated above the grade and interior floor system.
I usually embed the posts inside the exterior face of the straw bales. My main reason for this is to simplify the foundation design and finsh of the the wall. Having the posts embedded gives you an unobstructed exterior and interior when plastering as opposed to having to work around the posts. Also if there are temperature changes, the posts, assuming that they are wood, will expand and contract, causing potential problems at the joint where it meets the plaster skin.
Hope this helps!