Montana State University

Information session set Nov. 22 for students interested in Kenya design-build project

November 17, 2011

Subscribe to MSU Newsletters

Bobcat Bulletin is a weekly e-newsletter designed to bring the most recent and relevant news about Montana State University directly to friends and neighbors via email. Visit Bobcat Bulletin.

MSU Today e-mail brings you news and events on campus thrice weekly during the academic year. Visit the MSU Today calendar.

MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
An information session for students interested in participating in Montana State University design-build projects next summer using straw bales on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and in rural Kenya is set at noon Tuesday, Nov. 22, in room 241 of Cheever Hall.

MSU architecture professor David Fortin and recent MSU graduate Michael Spencer, who will appear at the session via internet from Kenya, will explain their work in Kenya using straw bale construction as a viable low-cost construction option and detail plans for next summer's project.

Since 2009, students and faculty in the MSU School of Architecture have researched housing issues in Kenya with Nairobi architect Ronald Omyonga, who also was the original Kenyan contact for MSU's award-winning Engineers Without Borders project in Khwisero, Kenya.

Last summer, Fortin and Spencer, now owner of Studio RE, travelled to Kisima in rural Kenya to study straw bale construction as a viable low-cost construction option and helped build a potato storage facility out of straw bale. They also spent time with Red Feather Development Group, which has buildt straw bale houses on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana to learn more about the construction technique. Spencer is currently in Kenya using the straw bale technique to build houses in Kisima.

During the summer semester of 2012, Fortin will conduct the Straw Bale Studies course with Spencer coordinating and assisting the program. As participants, a limited number of students will work with Red Feather Development in Montana, spend time in Nairobi to study the global housing crisis, and then travel to rural Kenya to participate in a design-build project using straw bale.

Tuesday's meeting will be an opportunity for students to learn more about the program and ask questions. Pizza will be provided.
The study abroad opportunity is coordinated by the MSU School of Architecture and the MSU Office of International Programs. For more information, contact Fortin at or Kevin Brustuen of the MSU Office of International Programs at

David Fortin (406) 994-7579,