When I first met Louie, in the mid-1980s, I was stunned by the beauty of this little building, and even more stunned when he told me that his design was based on the painting of a Mandan earth lodge on page 4 of our book Shelter. Moreover, his cabin across the river was based on the drawing of a small Japanese cabin (bottom right, page 21) in Shelter.
At that point, I had published Shelter II in 1978, but hadn’t really planned on any new books on building.
If Shelter had inspired buildings like this, it occurred to me that it was time for a sequel, and therefore I started working on Home Work, featuring Louie’s creations as the first part of the book. It turned out that a lot of buildings had been inspired by Shelter, as you can see if you leaf through Home Work.*
Since then, we’ve become the best of friends, and I visit him whenever I can. I stay in the little circular room (at right in the exterior photo), and it’s always a wonderful experience — looking up at the radial framing of the roof (with a Ford truck wheel at the apex), looking out at the grapevines, enjoying the design and quality of the building.
I always consult him on projects underway, and on this trip I took along the 30 or so pages of rough layout of our next book, Rolling Homes, and got his feedback.
Now that I’ve returned home, I’m back to work on this book, and it looks really exciting — what with the huge interest in nomadic living these days.*
P.S.: I highly recommend the film Nomadland; it’s real (a rarity these days).