The Barefoot Architect: A Handbook on Greeen Building

We have produced less than 30 books in 37 years of publishing. It was never intended to be this way. It just turned out that it took (takes) forever for us to get a book ready for press. Unlike grown-up publishers, who turn over an edited and completed manuscript to a designer, who then designs the pages and prepares the files, we always end up composing, editing, designing, writing, and gathering new graphics while we’re in production. The point of this all being that each book takes us a year or two, from start to off-the-press copy. During this time, the book will evolve. The book changes during this process, hopefully evolving for the better.

Well! The Barefoot Architect, in its evolution, came out a stunner.

Hot off the press

Not only in looks, but also in both usefulness and practicality in today’s world. We didn’t anticipate the timing, but the green movement matured as this book was being produced and it’s a perfect intersection. At a glance, the book may appear to be about building a house out of adobe and bamboo or other natural materials. Which it is. But it’s also about design, planning, integration with the natural environment, using the wind, sun, and water to ventilate and produce energy, and a host of other subjects for people interested in providing their own shelter, or setting up a small community.

In the ’60s, I started remodeling my house, and then adding on to it (with some ambitious first-time architect plans), so I had to learn to build as I went along. In those days I had a bunch of books on carpentry and building, but my favorite was Ken Kern’s The Owner-Built Home, which became the underground building bible. Not “architecture,” but building, and doing it yourself. Simple pen and ink drawings, easy to follow.

Johan van Lengen’s book is for builders today what The Owner-Built Home was for builders of the ’60s. 1000 wonderful simple drawings, easy to follow. A different way of looking at shelter. Earth conscious. Local climate. Local materials. Bio-architecture. (And using intuition and the right brain.)

Interestingly, Johan has found a keen interest in his methods recently by people who are bailing out of high-stress jobs and seeking simpler lives, creating “eco-villages.”

For a Free Copy of This Book

If you want a review copy of this book (sent to you or someone else), contact Lew at lew@shelterpub.com. Word-of-mouth works on books like this, so we are willing to send review copies to anyone in a position to tell others about it. If you like the book, help us get the word out

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

2 Responses to The Barefoot Architect: A Handbook on Greeen Building

  1. Thought I'd let you know that I picked this up recently in a B&N. I completely saw this book by accident. My wife and I are moving to Sudan and the book is our new Bible. I have not had a thorough look at it yet, but know enough to make it on my top 5 books. After a little use on the field and reading through it some more, I'll be putting a review up on missiotech.com.

  2. Hello Lew! Can I get a free copy of the Barefoot Architect book for my academic use? I need to refer first 100 pages only.

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