Kensington Kids Cottage 2006 update

Kensington Kids Cottage  2006 & 2007


Calendar of events related to the KKC


List of other webpages about the Kensington Kids Cottage Project:


About the Project


This awesome project is a collaborative effort* to create a learning structure at the Kensington Metropark Farm, using natural and local materials! The Kensington Kids Cottage began its construction on July 14, 2006 and was put in “a state of suspended animation” for the winter, awaiting the final earth plasters and thatching process in spring of 2007 when the warm weather returns. The Phragmite Reed Grass will be harvested by volunteers during the winter of 2006-7.


Local materials were procured from the site and surrounding region by the Kensington Park and Kensington Farm staff.


The timber frame was constructed from trees milled on-site: ash trees (whose death resulted from the Emerald Ash Borer)as well as some cherry and oak trees (that were previously downed for a variety of reasons.


Strawbales for the north wall, and earth for the Compressed Earth Blocks used in the east and west walls and the earthen plasters that cover all the walls, came from nearby the Kensington Farm.


Poles used to give lateral support to the strawbale walls and horizontal perlins for the thatched roof structure were gathered by the


The south-facing stone wall was made from the field stones collected on the Kensington land. These stones originally were rolled and deposited by the glaciers of 10,000 years ago. In the last century, the land was farmed and the stones were often moved into piles by the settlers.


The thatched roof is made of reed grass, Phragmites, an invasive local plant that grows in marshes and along water ways – even the expressways!



Contact Information

for those connected with the construction of the Kensington Kids Cottage


Kensington Metropark

Go City Kids, Kensington Metropark Activities


River Raisin Institute

Michael Neumann of the River Raisin Institute, 610 W. Elm Ave. Monroe, MI 48162 734-240-9837


Robert Prud’homme, Architect Ferndale, MI Robert Prud’homme is committed to using “sustainable” or “green” building practices. He has most recently been involved in building the first sustainable home in Birmingham, MI. Credentials: AIA


Deanne Bednar, Strawbale Studio Natural Building Program

home (248)628-1887, cell (248)496-4088,, P.O. Box 733, Oxford, MI 48371


Lance Bowen, New Harvest Homes (248)990-2943



The Kids Cottage at the Kensington Metropark Farm!


Text from the Raisin River website:


“Natural building techniques are being used in the construction of a demonstration children’s cottage/classroom at the Kensington Farm Learning Center. The work is being completed by a diverse crew of volunteers, including men, women and children.


The 300-square-foot cottage is mostly made of materials found onsite at the metropark. Dead ash trees, felled due to the emerald ash borer, were milled onsite to make the timber for framing the structure. Earthen block, straw bales and fieldstone walls were finished with an earthen plaster. This winter, volunteers will collect phragmites, an invasive plant species, and bundle the harvested reeds into thatch for the roof. The permanent thatched roof will be added in the Spring.


Natural building workshops were offered to cover the basic principles for compressed earth block (CEB) and strawbale construction, and earthen plaster application. A workshop on roof thatching techniques will be held in January 2007.


Follow the project’s progress and view photos at the Kensington Children’s Cottage , a website hosted by Great Lakes Green Initiative (GLGI). GLGI is working with several high school students who will be reporting on the project as part of a collaborative environmental journalism project with Michigan State University.


This collaborative team effort was initated by The Strawbale Studio Natural Building Project with a grant from the State of Michigan Energy Office, and joined by funding and design and construction support from the River Raisin Institute and other individuals, with great engagement of the Kensington Metropark & Farm staff.


Partners on this project include:

The River Raisin Institute

Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority

Robert B Prud’homme Design LLC

New Harvest Homes, Inc.

The Strawbale Studio Natural Building Program

Great Lakes Green Initiative