Best of 2001: Best Architect To Design Your Straw House

Drew Hubbell
930 Orchard Lane, Santa Ysabel
1970 Sixth Avenue, Downtown

Hubbell is the architect son of the revered artist-designer-builder James Hubbell. Father and son work together on what they call "the architecture of jubilation." Drew designed the first permitted straw-bale house in San Diego County. He's now working on a straw-bale Quaker meeting house (off 94 on Home Avenue) that will soar 25 feet high and another for the Wild Animal Park. "The great thing about straw is thermal mass," he says. "We plaster the walls inside. Coming off a concrete slab, they hold the temperature. Let's say it cools down at night but then heats up in daytime, such as in the desert: you can store that coolness in the house's straw walls, like in a Thermos bottle. Natural, free air-conditioning." People must be listening: since he built the first, at least 17 other straw-bale houses have gone up in urban San Diego.

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