Build diary – week ten, gotta lotta bottle

Bottles provide insulation

With great pleasure, I am handing this blog over to Whistlewood volunteers. If you would like to contribute, you can write your own piece as Chris has or send me notes using the contact page or via Whistlewood

By Chris Gregson – 30th July to 4th August

This was it, the weekend of the great bottle floor installation which, with help from our wonderful army of volunteers, was almost finished in one day, unfortunately we ran out of sand so it will have to be completed next week.

In the meantime, the walkway canopy boarding was finished and the scaffolding was moved outwards to facilitate easier access to the roof.

Scaffolding ready to be removed
Scaffolding ready to be removed

In preparation for ‘bottle day’ all of the inside walls were ‘trimmed’; the straw was ‘persuaded’ (hit with a big wooden mallet) straight where necessary, any holes or voids were stuffed with straw and the surface was trimmed with shears to take of any loose surface straw. Once this was done the internal scaffolding was removed and the inside was tidied up ready for the next stage.

Raising the hardcore

However, before we could lay the geotextile membrane (a separation layer between the hardcore floor and the bottles) we found it was necessary to raise the hardcore floor level by 50mm, which on the face of it sounds easy! It was not! Thanks to the herculean efforts of the build team and to Salli, Graham and Helen, we managed to achieve in just under two hours (no pictures as we all had too much to do). Friday lunchtime was very hot and humid, no need for the gym and sauna that day!

Geotextile in place
Geotextile in place

Bottle day

We opened the site to our volunteers who responded to our call-out and worked very hard, on another hot sunny day, moving sand and bottles into the Roundhouse ready for the laying teams.

Bottles going in place

You can see many more pictures of the volunteers and their activities on the Whistlewood Facebook page.

These empty wine bottles provide the insulation within the floor, by placing them upside down in sand the trapped air (with a few messages) creates an effective insulation layer.

Unfortunately, although we had enough bottles and volunteers to lay them, we ran out of sand with about a quarter to go.

Bottles provide insulation

Next week we need to finish the bottle laying and pour the limecrete…

Chris Gregson


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