There are a lot of drywall alternatives. The reason drywall became so popular were the costs associated with installation and finish compared to plaster. But, there are some aspects that are not so great for some.
Some homeowners do not like the hollowness of a wall built with drywall. Beings it is not as dense as other building materials, it can feel like the walls are thin and cheap. Some people do not like the fact that drywall is easily damaged (compared to other building materials).
Luckily, there are several drywall alternatives that can be used to create walls in a building's interior. We'll take a look at some of them here:
Plaster | Veneer Plaster - In Portland, and other US cities, a lot of the older homes have traditional plaster walls.
They consist of either a wood lathe or gypsum (drywall) lathe. A lot of homeowners prefer the look and feel of plaster compared to drywall. One major benefit is that your walls are very strong and durable. It takes a lot to damage them.
The downside is the cost. Where the drywall process is bid in cents per foot, plaster is bid in dollars per foot. It is a lot more expensive.
Masonry | Brick - Some homes has brick or concrete walls. This has become more common with passive home builders. The advantages are higher R-values (insulation) and sound proofing. The downside, increased expense. It is more expensive than drywall and plaster. Also, if you need to patch or remodel, there is a lot more work to be done during demolition.
Wood Paneling - Some home builders will use wood paneling or tongue and groove for ceilings. Depending on the look you are going for, wood paneling for your walls may be an option. Drawbacks, wood paneling is more expensive than drywall. Also, you really need to make sure that you decor will go with the wood paneling.
As you can see, most of the drawbacks to these drywall alternatives are either cost related or finish preference.