domes (24)

Shelter’s First Five Books

Last week, Kyle Theirmann, surfer, skater, journalist, and pal of Chris Ryan’s came here to do a podcast of me talking about the ’60s, about which he is doing a book based on the fact that a lot of millennials (he’s 32) are aware that something happened then, but don’t know exactly what.

To start out, I gave him a thumbnail description of our first books, and I got him to shoot this video on my camera.

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Exhibition of Shelter Books in Berlin Now

Article and video of exhibition of our books, Domebook One, Domebook 2, and Shelter in Berlin (translated from the German). This is the same exhibit, that was at the Biennale Architettura in Venice in 2021, titled “There Are Walls that Want to Prowl” (a line from a poem by Richard Brautigan that was in Shelter.) The exhibit runs in Berlin until January 15, 2023.

For my adventures in Venice last year, see: lloydkahn.com/?s=venice


Actually, Lloyd Kahn is not an architect. Nevertheless, he builds houses himself and writes about how people can live in harmony with nature. A new exhibition at the German Architecture Center in Berlin shows its utopian power.

How would we like to live?

“In the early 1970s he was already dealing with the questions that still concern us today,” says critic Laura Helena Wurth: How do we want to live together, in small families, large communities and what can that look like? Do we want to live in homes treated as commodities, or more in tune with nature?

His first experiments with building forms and typologies resulted in “domes,” round tents. At the opening of the exhibition in Berlin, Kahn admitted his mistake from back then: “Domes don’t work.” One cannot add to these round, closed constructions. According to Wurth, we can learn from him for the way we build today, that we need flexible architecture that can adapt.

Kahn’s life consists of mistakes, he told the curators, and back then he made a mistake that he had to correct. So Kahn stopped printing his book Domebook 2 and published Shelter.

Don’t build for eternity

According to Wurth, Kahn’s architecture is one that also breaks down. And then evolves. The builder recedes behind it and the people who live in it come to the fore. “Sustainable does not mean that something has to last forever. If we build a house out of concrete today, the CO2 emissions will go through the roof.” A house made of wood could break down, but would have a much better ecological balance.

According to Wurth, however, this idea is difficult to implement in an urban environment like Berlin. It’s also about space. Nevertheless, there is an “uncanny utopian power” in these works by Lloyd Kahn.

The exhibition “There Are Walls that Want to Prowl” can be seen until January 15, 2023 at the German Architecture Center in Berlin.

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Shelter Exhibition Opens This Friday in Berlin

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The exhibit, which was originally at the Architettura Biennale in Venice last year, is moving to Berlin and opening at the German Architecture Center this Friday, October 28.

Our books, Domebook One, Domebook 2, and Shelter are also on display in a large glass case. These models are based on drawings from those books.

Our exhibit was one of the first things you saw when entering the Arsenale di Venezia, the huge ship building complex in Venice (which was the largest industrial complex in Europe before the Industrial Revolution), now converted to exhibition space. Over 300,000 people visited the exhibition. When I was there with Lukas, there were crowds of people checking out our books and the models.

I’m flying to Berlin this Wednesday and will be doing a discussion with architect Leopold Banchini and curator Lukas Feireiss on hand-made housing and alternatives to traditional methods of building and living together. (And exploring Berlin — my first visit there.)

The title of the exhibit, There Are Walls That Want to Prowl is a line from the poem “Let’s Voyage Into the New American House” by Richard Brautigan, which was reprinted in Shelter.

More info at www.daz.de.

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Exhibit of Shelter Books and Models Opens This Week in Berlin

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From Lukas Feireiss in Berlin:

Friday evening October 28, we are opening our exhibition There Are Walls That Want to Prowl at the German Architecture Center (DAZ). Come, celebrate and discuss with us.

The exhibit was originally shown at the Biennalle Archittetura in Venice in 2021 and is an installation that combines building models from Lloyd Kahn’s books with architectural models by Leopold Banchini, interview footage, and photographs of Kahn’s home in California by Dylan Perrenoud. The exhibit was inspired by Kahn’s iconic books Domebook One, Domebook 2, and Shelter.

These three compendia of self-build architecture tell stories of alternative dwellings from nomadic structures in the Iron Age to contemporary mobile homes, consistently extolling ecological and self-reliant ways of living that liberate themselves from capital and production methods marked by alienation.

I’m pretty excited, taking off for a week in Berlin on Wednesday.

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Three-Minute Video on Shelter Exhibit at Architettura Biennale in Venice

I just discovered this online. It was such an honor to be recognized at this exhibition. These were my hosts, architect/teacher Leopold Banchini (left) and artist/curator/teacher Lukas Feireiss (right). They both spent an afternoon here in our studio in 2019, planning the exhibit, which displayed our books Shelter, Domebook One, and Domebook 2, as well as stick models made from the buildings shown in our books.

I also just read that 300,000 people attended the exhibit, a biennial international architectural exhibition which was open from May to November in Venice. That means that maybe at least 100,000 people saw the Shelter exhibit, since it was just inside the entrance. Wow!

A bunch of posts from my trip to Venice in October: www.lloydkahn.com/?s=venice

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Teo Briseño’s Latest Sculptured Bathroom

Teo Briseño did the beautiful bathroom in SunRay Kelley’s temple dome at Harbin Hot Springs, near Middletown, California (which unfortunately burned down a few years ago). It’s shown in Builders of the Pacific Coast.

Here’s his most recent creation, a dome bathroom inside a conventional home in Southern California.


Hello Lloyd…

Here is most recent work of mine towards living in natural sculptured environments.

This dome is made with natural stone and wood; some is locally harvested and wood was cured for 2½ years.

Thin-shell dome construction of one-inch-thick cement over basalt rebar and mesh without metal, so will not rust, corrode or block natural bio-magnetics between the Earth and ourselves.

Planters are sculpted in wall: they include drip irrigation and recycling water drain to flush toilet.

Carbon-sequestering plasters: made of natural lime plaster, an “Old World” technology — warm, inviting, breathable, and is resistant to bacteria.

The shower is of the finest natural lime plaster, giving a smooth, burnished, monolithic finish called Tadelakt, and sheds water as ancient Moroccan bath houses do.

Offering natural bathrooms for healthy self-care environments…

Bringing the outdoors in … naturally, with ancient building ways.

Brisenoarts.org

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Icosahedral Pumpkin and Model

We recently got a letter from architect James Horecka, parts of which are excerpted below:

I figured I’d recreate a geodesic pumpkin that I had carved-up back around 1990, shortly after I visited the Buckminster Fuller Institute (back when it was still in Los Angeles).

…on Monday morning, I came up with the idea of making a Geodesic Jack out of EMT, as I had some laying around. Over three evenings of a few hours each, I knocked it out.

The basics:

  • 1v Icosahedron (obviously).
  • Struts: 8″ long pieces of ½″ EMT. Two 10′ sticks yielded the 30 struts required.
  • End tabs flattened in my 20-ton hydraulic press. They are long because I was originally going to just stack the joints, ‘Burner’ style.
  • At the last minute, I decided to use hubs instead of stacking (cleaner look, less hassle). The steel discs are 2¾″ diameter cover plates for repairing holes where operating hardware has been removed.
  • I drafted the Hub templates CADD; glued to the metal, center-punched, drilled, and deburred.
  • Fasteners are ¼-20 × ½″ stove bolts & nuts.
  • Two-tone paint: Honey inside (flesh), Amber outside (skin), plus Black.

Anyway: Creating this from scratch over just a few evenings was good fun.

I’ll probably go back and make another dozen hub plates, for the inside face of each node. With those and the bolts & nuts painted black, the assembly will look a little sharper still. Though now that Halloween is over, I’ve no idea what to do with this thing until next year! Cat House?

P.S.: I continue to enjoy reading your books. Cover-to-cover, one after another.

Sincerely,

James Horecka, AIA
Staff Architect, A&FE
Disneyland Resort, Anaheim

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