Useful LinksNon-Exhaustive. Please make contact for contributions.
Organisers & ParticipantsDjernes & Bell (DK)
Local Works (UK)
Høstskole - Janne Dinesen (DK)
Dinesen X KADK Residency - Hans Peter Dinesen, Peter Møller Rasmussen (DK)
Nicholas Brooks (UK)
Emmy Laura Perez (DK)
Stråtagets Kontor (DK)
Stråtagets Kontor - Jørgen Kaarup (DK)
Tækkefirmaet Hornby - Thomas Gerner (DK)
Christian Holmgaard - Høstskole (DK)
Jeppe Nielsen - Høstskole (DK)
Andrea Parker - Høstskole (DK)
Rikke Sørensen - Høstskole (DK)
Kent Jørgensen - Høstskole (DK)
Oscar O - Høstskole (DK)
Agronomy & AgricultureNature’s Own Roof: Thatching Miscanthus (The Environmental Agency, DK)
Agro & Plant Technology (DK)
Paludiculture Guidlines (DK)
Regenerativt Jordbug Forening ( DK)
National Thatching Straw Growers Association (UK)
Project Drawdown: Perennial Biomass (US)
Lund Centre for Sustainability Studies - Lennart Olsson (SE)
Swedish – American Perennial Polycultures Research Cluster (SE, US)
Thatching CraftThatching Info (UK)
Stråtagets Kontor (DK)
Thatching Advisory Services (UK)
Thatch Advice Centre (UK)
Tangtag (Seaweed Roofs) (DK)
Glossary of Thatching Terms (UK)
Thatched Roofs (DK)
Architecture & Materials ScienceReport on Biogenic Materials in Building (DK)
Sustainable Thatched Roof (DK)
CINARK - Clay, Fire & Tectonics (DK)
The Centre for Natural Material Innovation (UK)
BRE Centre in Innovative Construction Materials (UK)
School of Natural Building (UK)
Building The Symbiocene (DK)
Dreyers Fond Materials (DK)
Material Cultures (UK)
Phytophilia Library - Sara Martinsen (DK)
History - Crop Covering & Thatching Craft - Hay Ricks, Stacks & The effect of the combine harvester on the craft of thatching (UK)
Various Resources/ Reading
Julia Watson. Lo—TEK. Design by Radical Indigenism
Robin Wall Kimmerer - Braiding Sweetgrass
Emmanuelle Coccia - The Life of Plants
Farmarama - The Voices of Regenerative Argriculture
Flourish - Book & Podcast
Emmy Laura Perez - Jordbo: En ledsager i uregerlige tider
List of Materials (Non-Exhaustive)Thatching is a vernacular building craft, that developed with local land-use and building practices, thatching techniques have developed in direct dialogue to local ecologies and climates and the craft of thatching requires intricate knowledge on the life of plants. A pre-industrial trade, its reliance on time and skilled-labour contributed to its demise, the additional sigmatisation from the large fire-risks associated with thatched roofs and mechanisation of harvesting techniques which destroyed the straws suitable for thatching and made cereal ricks and stacks redundant.
Its temporality and direct connection to the natural world give this craft a new-relevance in the post-carbon, regenerative future we need to achieve. We exist because of plants, and plants have the means to restore balance to the natural world. It is therefore of utmost importance that we relearn the ecological connections clearly illustrated by plant-based and biogenic building materials, and we find ways of using these materials in the buildings that will serve the future.
British Thatching Materials:Combed Wheat Reed, Longstraw, Water reed (the most durable), are the most common thatching materials used in Britain. Heather, Marram Grass, Bracken & Turf are lesser known thatching materials used in the UK.
Needs to be grown without high-inputs of nitrogen to avoid soft growth – prone to fungal rot in thatch.
Requires threshing with pre-1950’s farm machinery to avoid mechanical damage of stalks.
Triticale wheat is grown and used by UK thatchers because it lasts longer than wheat grown using pesticides. Triticale is a hybrid of wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale) first bred in laboratories during the late 19th century in Scotland and Germany.
Newer varieties Maris Widgeon and Maris Huntsman wheat – commonly used in the UK for thatching. Tall, strong straw grown organically. (grown for straw and wheat). More problems than older varieties.
Hazel spars – used to secure layers of thatch.
Danish Thatching MaterialsThe most common material for thatching in Denmark is Tagrør or Common Reed ( Phragmites Australis) with a growing interest in using Miscanthus. It is common practice to import Water Reed for thatching in Denmark, as it is often thought of as better quality.
Longstraw (Rye) (Halm) was traditionally more widespread due to its availability as an agricultural by-product and a large procentage of Danish population living as farmers.
In Læsø a unique vernacular thatching technique using Eel-Grass has been developed.
Other Notable Thacthing Materials
Totoro Reeds (Uros Floating Islands, Peru)
Broom (British Isles, Souther Europe)
Elegio Tectorum (Cape Thatching Reed, South Africa)
Mesopotamian Marshes ( Reeds, rushes, papyrus, willow used in Mudhif construction)
Fast Growing Woody Plants (Hazel, Willow, Alder)
Future Thatching Materials (For ecological restoration & regeneration)Perennial Grains: Perennial Wheat, Perennial Sorghum (similar to Millet). Perennial Grasses: Miscanthus
Paludiculture: Plants cultivated in wet-lands. Cattails (Rushes, Typha), Reeds (Common Reed, Phragmites Australis), Perennial Cane,
Alder (Timber), etc.
Carbon capture through regenerative agriculture and use of existing bio-mass bi-product in building has potential for atmospheric draw down of carbon and for ecological restoration. This is an extremely complex topic, and affects agriculture, energy, materials, building, land-use and biology sectors. There is a move from degenerative agricultural pratices, to practices whereby growing supports soil quality, carbon capture and bio-diversity. More research into perennial crops and grains, and above-below ground ecological connectedness have been important in driving this change, which now needs to be supported by legislation and the procurement and market structures that shape agriculture and land-use globally.