natural materials (305)

RIP Lloyd House

Photo of Lloyd’s “Leaf House” on Hornby Island by Jan Janzen. The roof shape was due to the curve of a piece of driftwood that Lloyd used for the ridge beam.

When I met the builder of my dreams 17 years ago, his name was Lloyd — House!

We became great friends and he was the main inspiration for my favorite of all our building books: Builders of the Pacific Coast.

Lloyd passed away about two weeks ago on Hornby Island, BC, Canada.

Michael McNamara (who first introduced me to Lloyd) sent this, which is posted at the Hornby Island Co-op. (A few of the phrases are borrowed from the Robert Louis Stevenson poem, “Requiem.”)

There’s a very complete list of his buildings, along with photos and interviews with him in the book: www.shelterpub.com/building/builders-of-the-pacific-coast

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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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Could Homes Built of Bamboo Help Solve the Climate Crisis?

Photos by Jonathan Davis / Spaces808.com/. Reprinted with permission

From The Mercury News, Sept. 28, 2022

Julia M. Chan | CNN

While bamboo has been used in construction in Asia for thousands of years, it’s starting to catch on in sustainable housing development in parts of the United States and other places in the world.

Bamboo Living co-founder and chief architect David Sands is at the forefront of modern sustainable bamboo construction. His Hawaiian-based company specializes in creating bamboo homes and other buildings, with clients including rock star Sammy Hagar, actress Barbara Hershey, music mogul Shep Gordon, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar — and Sands himself.

The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Why bamboo? What makes it an ideal material for construction and the environment?

The giant bamboos are the fastest-growing woody plant on the planet. If you go to the Guinness Book of World Records, I think it was between two and three feet a day that they recorded it growing. So you end up with these plants that are 100 feet tall in just a couple of months. By year three, you’ve got incredible building material, and that’s when we harvest for our houses.

Because it’s the fastest-growing plant, it’s probably the fastest natural way to get CO2 (carbon dioxide) out of our atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, it’s taking that CO2 and turning it into sugars and then into actual fiber, the storage mechanism for the atmospheric carbon. And that’s a big deal in terms of getting the CO2 out of the atmosphere rapidly.

Normally when you harvest a tree, you kill the tree, and it’s got to start all over. And with the bamboo, every year it’s sending up new trunks, so you just harvest a percentage of those trunks and it just keeps growing. The plants can live up to 120 years. You know how you just keep mowing the lawn and the grass keep popping back? It’s really like that — it is a grass. It’s the biggest of the grasses.

From an architect’s perspective, can you talk about bamboo’s strength and flexibility?

It’s an incredibly strong material. On a weight basis, it’s actually stronger than steel, which is much, much heavier than the same cross section of bamboo. Bamboo has more than twice the strength of the wood usually used for construction, and it’s got a compressive strength similar to concrete.

We’ve had our buildings go through multiple Category 5 hurricanes, up to 200 mile-an-hour winds. We’ve had our buildings go through up to 6.9 on the Richter Scale in terms of seismic events, or earthquakes. Because the bamboo is so much lighter weight and stronger on a weight basis, it can flex and then recover.

Where have you built homes? And is there potential to go elsewhere?

We’ve got homes in the Caribbean, in the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, (and) Southern California now. I was just in Florida working on a project. I’m going to India to meet with a group that wants to build our homes there.

There’s definitely the opportunity to go pretty much into any climate. I think stylistically the homes that we’ve done thus far have all had that kind of tropical feel to them. But there was a client yesterday that wants to do a project (on) Long Island, which would be really fun.

Have you seen an increase in interest in bamboo homes?

Yeah, there is. We have never been busier and we’re expanding production now. I think the concern with the climate crisis has really gotten to the forefront of people’s attention, and really being able to make personal choices that directly impact that is a big deal.

It’s certainly what got me started. I built a home for myself on Maui 30 years ago and I was trying to be as sustainable as I could be. But then they delivered the lumber to build the house, and it was really a gut punch of, like, that’s a whole forest! And that’s happening every time, for every house in the United States. And I just felt like, “I’ve got to do something different.”

You live in a bamboo home now. What’s it like?

I love it. There’s a connection to nature in terms of just knowing that the house itself is helping solve the climate crisis. But then the beauty of it, the shapes and forms we’re able to do with it that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to do with dimensional material; it really is like living in a piece of furniture. All of the handcrafted joinery, beautiful radiating rafters and beams, they add a level of beauty to the building.

Article sent us by Maui Surfer

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‘They Said It Was Impossible’: How Medieval Carpenters Are Rebuilding Notre Dame

From The Guardian / The Observer
Kim Willsher

Sat 20 Aug 2022

At Guédelon Castle, the year is 1253 and the minor nobleman, Gilbert Courtenay, has ridden off to fight in the Crusades, leaving his wife in charge of workers building the family’s new home: a modest chateau that befits his social position as a humble knight in the service of King Louis IX.

Here, in a forest clearing in northern Burgundy, history is being remade to the sound of chisel against stone and axe against wood, as 21st-century artisans re-learn and perfect long-forgotten medieval skills.

The Guédelon project was dreamed up as an exercise in “experimental archaeology” 25 years ago. Instead of digging down it has been built upward, using only the tools and methods available in the Middle Ages and, wherever possible, locally sourced materials. Now, in an unforeseen twist of fate, Guédelon is playing a vital role in restoring the structure and soul of Notre Dame cathedral.

Paris’s imposing 13th-century cathedral, a world heritage site, was consumed by fire in April 2019, destroying its complex roof structure, known as La Forêt because of the large number of trees used in its construction. The widespread view was that it would be impossible to rebuild it as it was.

“The roof frame was extremely sophisticated, using techniques that were advanced for the 12th and 13th centuries,” Frédéric Épaud, a medieval wood specialist, tells the Observer.

“After the fire, there were a lot of people saying it would take thousands of trees, and we didn’t have enough of the right ones, and the wood would have to be dried for years, and nobody even knew anything about how to produce beams like they did in the Middle Ages. They said it was impossible.

A number of the companies bidding for the Notre Dame work have already engaged carpenters trained at Guédelon, and more are expected to beat a path to the Burgundy clearing 200km down the autoroute du Soleil from Paris.

It might be quicker and cheaper to turn wooden beams out of a sawmill — especially with French president Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to reopen the ravaged cathedral in 2024 — but you will not find anyone at Guédelon who believes it should be done that way.
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Timber-Frame Gothic Style Church in New Zealand

Hi Lloyd,

Here’s another amazing wooden Gothic style church built in nine months by seven carpenters and a manager in 1866. Old St. Paul’s Wellington. The ceiling timbers are Kauri, a native New Zealand hardwood.

Kind regards,
Bill Choquette
Wellington

P.S.: Been posting infrequently lately due to overwhelming busyness, both personal and professional. Also now deeply into my next book, provisionally titled Live From California, a sort of autobiography, which includes a native Californian’s view of what went on in the ’60s.

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Bruno and Misha’s Greenhouse on Vancouver Island

All wood from beach and hand-split shakes from driftwood cedar. Bruno Atkey’s incredible repertoire of buildings is on display on pp. 74-95 of Builders of the Pacific Coast (my favorite of all my building books).

Everything he does, all the joints, the design, the materials are to me, perfect. A kindred builder.

(My tower is roofed with shakes that Bruno split from driftwood cedar logs and that Misha drove down here in a van about 7 years ago.)


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Remote Living on High Altitude Lake on Xeni Gwet’in Land in Canada

Today I got an email from Jakub Amler in British Columbia, describing a 75-year-old man named Chendi, who has been living on the shores of the high altitude (4200 feet) 50-mile-long glacier-fed Chilco Lake in west central British Columbia for over 50 years. This is on the land of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations tribe. From Jakub (edited):

“It’s hard to believe he has been here for such long period of time since he hasn’t cut down a single tree — for firewood or structures. He collects all his wood, mostly with his rowboat on the wild and windy Chilco lake.

It is totally off grid, no road access. His “truck” is a rowboat which he uses to carry all the logs from the lake. He doesn’t use any power tools (lover of japanese tools, of course), the craftsmanship is unique, his buildings are charming like most of the buildings in your publications.”

Chendi allows people to come stay there (one month minimum), and says:

“Volunteers sleep in simple and old log cabins, carry water, use an outhouse and rustic bath or sweat house. This is a very difficult and isolated lifestyle, requiring volunteers to be physically fit. You cannot function here if you are not up for the challenge. The wind is quite intense for much of the year. It is also as majestic a place as you ever will see.

Kayaks are available with access to pristine wilderness, hiking, rowboat, fishing from a kayak, gathering wild roots and hunting or snaring.

I also only want people who are serious about going forward from this experience to lead a different life. This is not just a place to have an adventure, but a place to learn a meditative lifestyle (yoga). I want people to come here with intention and mindfulness.”

www.workaway.info/en/host/438711758842

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