Holme Lacy straw cafe 7 years later

We recently revisited the Holme Lacy straw bale cafe, located on the Holme Lacy campus at Herefordshire and Ludlow College. It has been over seven years since the building was completed.

The building looks absolutely gorgeous and has settled into its surroundings. The original cedar cladding has gracefully silvered with age; adding character and warmth to the building. A green wall has been added to one of the elevations. The plants and flowers incorporated into the wall softens the straight lines of the timber cladding.

The above images show a 'then and now' comparison to how the building looked in 2010 and how the building looks today in 2017.

During its life the building has won numerous awards, including a National LABC Award and continues to be a much loved location to meet up for the students on site.

The building was designed by architects Hewitt Studios based in Bath.

Click here to read about how it all started.


The project comprises an extended 100 seat cafe, refurbished kitchen and cafe terrace.The extension was conceived as a College learning aid in low-impact environmental design, with the following features:

Prefabricated Construction: The building structure utilises ModCell prefabricated straw bale Panels in order to minimise environmentally disruptive on-site works. It was assembled by a workforce comprising of 4 post-graduate students. 

Energy efficient: The building requires very little heating/cooling as the straw bale insulation is approximately 3x better than current regulations require. The building is naturally ventilated and makes use of natural daylight where possible. All artificial lights are on motion / daylight sensors.  

On-site energy generation: The building generates up to 6kW of green electricity from a combination of photovoltaic panels and wind turbine.  

Local Materials: The cedar cladding/boarding and organic straw insulation come from the College estate. Varieties for the green planted wall was sourced from local nurseries.