Barn Project


Ionia’s Barn is designed to be a place where therapy and subsistence meet. It serves as a local center for learning and practicing traditional crafts (including natural building and organic growing). It has a shop well set up for building beautiful natural homes from timber, straw and clay.


Ionia’s Barn is the largest straw/clay building in this country and perhaps the world.  It attracts many volunteers interested in Natural Building. The breathable walls are a radiating heat mass and have three times the R value of log or conventionally insulated buildings. Most of the materials are sourced from Alaska: quality clay from Kasilof and barley straw from Delta Junction, log beams from Kenai, and cedar siding from Prince of Wales Island. The barn is also a showcase for simple, effective home-made rocket mass heaters.


Simple natural building methods are considered therapeutic here at Ionia. We have developed a mechanized system for the fast production of natural, locally sourced materials for building homes.

The Ionia Barn Project is funded by matching grants from the Rasmuson Foundation, MJ Murdock Charitable Trust, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Alaska’s state legislature, USDA Rural Development (planning grant) and Paul G Allen Family Foundation, as well as generous private donations.