Mosaic artist Wilma Wyss designed a 66 square foot mural for Esalen Institute to be installed at the renovated lodge. The mosaic came to life in a workshop at Esalen’s wonderfully funky Art Barn last week. In addition to the 18 seminarians, over forty people stopped by to place a tile or two, or brought objects to be incorporated. The small rectangles are individual mirrors, placing the visitor within the fabric of Esalen.

ATA is excited to announce that our Vine Hill Strawbale Residence has been selected as a finalist for the Fine Homebuilding 2016 Houses Readers' Choice Awards. Voting is now open to the public until February 26th (ends at 11:59pm EST). The home that wins will be featured in a two-page spread in the Houses issue.

 "Remixing Modern Masonry with Watershed Block", an article published by Masonry Magazine, explains the resilience, efficiency, and sustainability of Watershed Block building and features a photo of our Healdsburg Family Residence project.
 

Volunteers and friends of Origin Brewer, a new nano-brewery in Richmond, California, were led by Contractor Chris Polk and the talented crew of Watershed Materials (Dan, Edward, Gabriel, Khyber, Taj, and David Easton) on October 23rd, 24th & 25th for the raising of the Watershed block walls. The ATA designed brewery was engineered by Anthony Dente of KDSE to minimize the use of portland cement based concrete by utilizing horizontal ladder trusses, so not all of the cores need to be grouted. Watershed Block features around 5% cement content vs. over 10% in typical concrete block.

bale before and after plaster

Bay Area based Arkin Tilt Architects (ATA) has designed dozens of structures that utilize straw bales for insulation in their walls; the plans for two have been available for purchase through the website www.strawbaleplans.com. In response to this summer's wildfires throughout California, ATA is offering the plans for these two homes, plus six others, to anyone who lost their home in the fires, for free.

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