architecture (473)

Wonderful Houses Around the World

Yesterday I read in the paper that sales of children’s books are booming, due to schools being closed. This brought to mind our one and only children’s book, Wonderful Houses Around the World, by photographer Yoshio Komatsu and artist Akira Nishiyama.

There are 10 photographs by Yoshio of homes in different parts of the world. All the homes are built of natural materials — earth, wood, thatch, sod, bamboo, and stone.

Each photo is followed by a watercolor drawing of the inside of that home, showing the children and their parents going about their everyday activities: food gathering and processing, cooking, sleeping, working and playing.

The book is timely in this day and age: it shows what people do in their homes. Timely also because it’s great educational material for kids being home-schooled: look at what what kids your age are doing in other parts of the planet.

Yoshio is my favorite photographer of homes in the world. Not only are the homes invariably soulful, but his composition and lighting are perfect — and he has a knack for making people feel comfortable, so that the homeowners look natural, often laughing.

The book is $12.95 and you can order it through your independent bookstore, or from:

Note: We have a money-back guarantee on all of our books (no matter where you buy them). If for any reason you are dissatisfied, call us and we’ll return the full purchase price plus shipping. No need to return the book.

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Sauna on Wheels

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This immaculately built sauna on wheels rolled through town 3 weeks ago. Built by Jeremy Tuffli (shown here [in white T‑shirt] seated with Evan Kahn), and Joey Pepper. They use it for events. Stove is from Finland, roof and trim are copper. (I didn’t get a full-on shot of the roof; it’s really beautiful.) Jeremy said he was inspired by our book Tiny Homes on the Move to build a camper, then went on to building saunas. The guys are next headed to Mexico City, financed by Vans to build a skatepark.

Jeremy is among a group of young builders (like Jay Nelson, Foster Huntington, Tucker Gorman) who are carrying on in the tradition of Lloyd House, Louie Frazier, Bruno Atkey — a new wave of carpenter poets.

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Handcrafted Homes in Pennsylvania Woods

A terrific article in today’s NYTimes (3/16/20) online by Michael Snyder, with great photos by Chris Mottalini.

Everything about this story and the photos struck me as right. I felt at home here. I love the rumpled bed in the second photo. I also like the idea of an “alternative to modernism.” 

How Two Children Are Keeping Their Father’s Design Legacy Alive

A pair of Pennsylvania homes constructed by the Japanese-American furniture designer George Nakashima have become an enduring testament to mid-century folk craft.

“From 1946, when he founded his studio on a three-acre plot in New Hope, a historic artist’s colony halfway between New York City and Philadelphia, to his death in 1990 at the age of 85, Nakashima devoted his life to transforming slabs of walnut, cherry, burled maple and redwood into coffee tables shaped like pools of water, Shaker-style chairs with hand-whittled spindles and dining-room tables fashioned from slices of tree trunks, their cracks and seams bridged with joints like butterflies caught in amber. ‘He felt his work was a form of integral yoga: How you work and live is all connected,’ his daughter, Mira, 78, told me on a damp, gray morning last fall while showing me around the grounds of the studio, which she has run since her father’s death. Organic, improvisational and individual, the tens of thousands of objects he made in the course of his lifetime were also functional, meant for daily use; they were, Mira says, “the antithesis of Modernism, a protest against mass production.”

“But the homes where Mira and Kevin live, patinated and imperfect and crowded with debris, more fully capture the spirit of mingei. Less an antithesis to Modernism than an alternative to it, such projects embraced 20th-century idioms while refusing to accept industrial mass production as the fundamental fact of modernity. ‘Dad always said that building furniture was just like architecture but smaller,’ Mira says. In his houses for his children, the opposite holds true: Like Nakashima’s tables and chairs, they can be read as works of folk art, useful objects that, as Yanagi wrote, ‘honestly fulfill the practical purpose for which they were made.’”

www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/t-magazine/george-nakashima-legacy.html

Article sent us by Elizabeth Kirkland

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House Made of Hemp Panels in UK

Practice Architecture’s house is built from the plant growing in the fields around it.

Flat House, as the home on Margent Farm is called, is the conversion of a steel-framed agricultural shed, within which a new structure has been made of prefabricated timber-framed cassettes that were filled with a mulch of hemp, lime and water known as hempcrete. Once the mulch was dry they were erected into thick, highly insulating walls that also hold the building up. The exterior is covered in corrugated panels, which at first glance looks like the cement cladding typical of farm sheds. It is actually made of fibres from the outer coating of hemp stalks combined with resin taken from agricultural waste. It has a livelier texture and a more translucent quality than cement.

theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/dec/07/flat-house-margent-farm-cambridgeshire-hemp-practice-architecture-carbon-energy

From Maui Surfer

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Louie’s New Sauna on Wheels

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Louie Frazier’s sauna under construction in Mendocino county. Built on Toyota truck chassis so it can be pulled back from river in winter. Windows at eye level (a technique used by Lloyd House in Canada), that creates feeling of spaciousness in tiny buildings. Siding is cedar 1×6 fence boards from Home Depot. Rafters are staves from old wine barrels.

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Little Log Cabin in Nevada Desert

Log cabin with hip roof, central Nevada. Squared-off logs, nice joinery. I shot this in the early ’90s, on one of my 4×4 trips in search of remote hot springs in the American southwest. It was out in the middle of nowhere, making it even more special.

Note tacked-on addition in back. Even with that, the simplicity and beauty of this little building shine through. Note also floor joist tenons routed in to bottom girder/log.

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The Half-Acre Homestead Book Is Finished!

(Subtitle: 46 Years of Building & Gardening)

You know, it’s Thanksgiving morning, both boys are off for the holiday with spouses’ families, and Lesley and I are working on our separate crafts. What a difference with no phones, no email, no business necessities, no one else around. Witness the fact that I’ve hardly blogged at all lately. Gonna have to get one day a week here with no distractions. A right-brain day!

The unbound pages came in from the printers a few days ago. What a thrill! The book’s getting bound (in Hong Kong) this week, shipped and will be available in early March, 2020. When we get it together, we’re going to take pre-orders.

I’m still getting used to the book. After covering hundreds of builders over the years, this is the first on my own (and Lesley’s) work.

Stay tuned.

These photos shot with iPhone. We just got these early pages.

Music de éste día: The Gilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Brothers, 1969
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUeFJ7QIRbE

Here’s how I make books:

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