My cousin Michael Kahn died on the Winter Solstice, December 21. He was an artist who lived on the banks of a river in Arizona with his wife Leda, and he’d built a village of wild free-form buildings over the years. There were 10 pages on his work in our book Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter, including the pic below:
Mike built this room out of salvaged auto windshields, glued together with silicone caulk and decorated with stained glass. He got the idea for the silicone joinery and the inspiration for free-form building from our 1973 book Shelter.
Mike was one year younger than me and we looked a lot alike — our dads were brothers.
We played together a lot as kids and when I went to Stanford, he went to UC Santa Barbara, where he threw the javelin on the track team. We lived in adjacent cottages in Mill Valley in the ’60s, and I went to hang out with him when he moved to Provincetown, Mass., in 1965 — just before I quit my job as an insurance broker to start working as a carpenter.
Mike was a gentle soul. He never did anything but his art, all his life. Painting, sculpting, building. He called his place Eliphante, and in recent years people from all over the world have come to visit, in spite of its hidden location. To get there you have to cross a river in a canoe.
On January 31, the NY Times did a large article on Mike titled: A Handmade Home
If you’re interested in Gaudí/Watts Towers-type architecture, see Mike’s website at: