Essex: Sworders strengthens claim to straw bale building record

ESSEX-based fine art auctioneers firm Sworders is securing its claim to the record of having Europe’s largest building based on straw bales.

The environmentally-friendly building technique is again being used in the construction of an extension to the firm’s headquarters at Stansted Mountfitchet, which was itself Europe’s largest straw bale building when it was completed four years ago.

The extension, which increases the floor space by nearly 50%, is required for the storage and sale of items following a period of rapid growth for the firm, in areas including China.

Sworders’ managing director, Guy Schooling, said: “As auctioneers we see ourselves as part of the recycling industry. We pass items on from people who no longer require them to new owners who pay good money to receive them. So to have our flagship saleroom built in such an environmentally friendly technique reflects the very nature of what we do.

“Not only will the new extension use the straw bales and lime render, but the timber frame and the cedar roof tiles were sustainably sourced. We already harvest rainwater for flushing and our hot water is powered by a solar panel.

“We are increasingly holding specialist auctions which means that items are often stored by us for longer periods of time, so this new building will provide extra storage facilities and free up much needed space in the saleroom.”

The building work is reducing access to the rear of the Sworders’ site in Stansted Mountfitchet this summer and autumn. The new, larger, facility is expected to be fully operational by Christmas.