Rendered Speechless


There are perhaps a few preconceptions about natural render in architecture and their association with a particular aesthetic: natural renderers go hand-in-hand with curved, organic, rustic, owner-built homes right? Wrong!


I decided to gather a few images of contemporary applications of natural clay and lime renders.



The contrast of a beautiful, earthy natural render finish adds depth and warmth to sleek, contemporary spaces.


I then stumbled across the beautiful project: Tea Mountain cafe, Prague, by A1 Architects, featuring a black straw and clay wall.


The design is reminiscent of Japanese Tea Houses and Wabi Sabi aesthetics – centred around the beauty of imperfection. See their website here.republic  Tea-shop-in-Prague-by-A1-Architects_dezeen_2

Architect Lenka Kremenova spoke to Dezeen commenting that “We always search for a certain kind of quality of materials which could be called ‘touchableness’.”

In contrast. see the following photos where Michaela Scherrer Interior Design use lime render in a bathroom.


Lime renders are naturally antibacterial and allow a wall to ‘breathe’, creating healthier internal environments. ldebq7a32s (1)

You CAN get rendering!Clayworks - Katy plastering 2


Further links and reading:

A1 Architects, Czech Republic

Supacoat natural render suppliers, Australia

Viva Living Homes Strawbale Homes

Straw House

Project Straw House by Californian Architects Rael San Fratello 2010

All Images are from their website.


Straw House consists of three glass compartments: sleeping, eating/lounging, bathing.

These compartments are nestled amongst an insulative skin of stacked straw bales.


Amid the volume of straw come small passages between the three compartments.


Like a tactile maze, a contrast between the sleek, coldness of glass and the warm, earthiness of straw.


RSF Architects do some interesting, experimental work. Aiming to constantly redefine themselves, they see building as the privilege to build a full scale study model. – A delightful, thoughtful approach to architecture and construction.


A constant experimentation and exploration. No fear to remain naive, to recognise one’s blindness with a willingness to learn.entrance2broken_bales

Read on for a great extract from their ‘about’ page on their website. I’d love to collaborate with architects of such humble, personable background:

We are a studio that disrupts the conventions of architecture by tackling topics not typically of interest to architects. We start galleries in the middle of nowhere. We talk to homeless people. We stack straw bales. We play in the mud. We start corporations. We imagine a better border. We question green. We love fluorescents and brown. We write. We educate. We learn. We often lose, but it doesn’t stop us from trying. We believe that the turtle wins the race. We believe old things can be new again. We hope that the new things we make will someday be old. Another company’s trash is sometimes our treasure. We believe there is nothing wrong with making money. We do free work (and lots of it). We print buildings. We love dust. We believe that when there is architecture there should also be food. We believe salt has a place in architecture. We are obsessed by materials. We try to proceed and be bold. We think that, when it comes to architecture, there is nothing wrong with lying and accentuating. We love making in California and we love Oakland. We have future-forward aspirations. We have rural gesticulations and intonations. We know you’ve never heard of our favorite architects. We know you’ve probably never heard of us. We are willing to deny any of this if it isn’t any fun.

Rael San Fratello is Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello