on the road (312)

Tattoo Based on My Dad’s 1917 Drawing

Lloyd,

I first saw that 1917-18 drawing your father did a few years ago and I knew I wanted to have it as a tattoo someday. I finally was able to make that happen with an artist here in Phoenix, Arizona named Kyle Huskey. I chose him for the task as he does very well with fine line work and texture. Attached is a photo of the tattoo. I think he did the drawing justice!

Thank you,
Ben Garza
Cottonwood, Arizona

My dad did this drawing when he was in high school (Lick-Wilmerding) in San Francisco in 1917-18 or so. He had to go to work after high school, so never got the chance to develop his artistic side. I put it on my blog two years ago and lo and behold! I’m sure my dad would be blown away.

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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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Review of Rolling Homes in Point Reyes Light

by Sam Mondros – October 10, 2022

Original article at ptreyeslight.com/news/rolling-homes-unpacked-in-new-lloyd-kahn-book


Gregory Watson's traveling carpentry rig carries his tools and blueprints, acting as both shelter and office.

Gregory Watson’s traveling carpentry rig carries his tools and blueprints, acting as both shelter and office.

One rainy day last fall, two men traveling on electric unicycles from New York’s Hudson Valley found themselves on the streets of Bolinas being photographed by Lloyd Kahn, author of over a dozen books on tiny homes. The unicycles were outfitted with dirt bike tires, tiger-print protective pads and various bags holding the belongings of their riders, Dylan Weidman and Tristan Schipa.

The unicycles became the most minimalist examples of 75 wheeled homes featured in Mr. Kahn’s new book, Rolling Homes: Shelter on Wheels. Mr. Kahn’s latest release is a follow-up to Tiny Homes on the Move, his first book on mobile homes. Some of its subjects are solar-powered, some double as saunas, some have gardens or pizza ovens and bars. One hauls 12 baby bison and others barely work well enough to get a person and their surfboard to the beach, but all are homes of one sort and the book explores them through photographs and stories about their many adventures.

“I think it’s my best book in a long time,” Mr. Kahn said. “It’s timely and speaks to people who are a part of a movement that isn’t specific to any age group.”

Mr. Kahn has spent over five decades publishing a wide spectrum of books on do-it-yourself design and carpentry that have influenced builders across the world. He took to building at age 12, helping with projects at his family’s weekend home in the Central Valley. After graduating from Stanford in 1957, he joined the Air Force and spent two years as the editor for a military newspaper. When he returned to California, he built his first home, in Mill Valley, developing his practical philosophy of building while working as an insurance broker. He soon exchanged his suit and tie for a hammer and measuring tape.

In Big Sur in the ’60s, Mr. Kahn explored a variety of housing design concepts and quickly became an authority on geodesic domes. Ultimately, he would rescind his two books on domes out of a belief that the structures, once representative of a brand of Northern California counterculture, were intrinsically flawed. “I have many reasons for why they don’t work,” Mr. Kahn said. “The whole building is exposed to weather, it’s hard to subdivide inside and they leak. I learned there’s beauty in rectangles, as far as housing goes,” he said.

In 1973, Mr. Kahn released his most popular book to date, Shelter, co-authored by architect Bob Easton. The colossal photo book celebrates varying forms of shelter built by humankind and showcases Mr. Kahn’s D.I.Y. ethic, offering blueprints and instructions “Shelter” sold over 300,000 copies and was re-released in 2013.
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Paul Elkins’ Video of the TinyFest Festival Sept. 10-11, 2022

One of Paul’s bicycle-pulled campers is in our most recent book, Rolling Homes. Paul drove all the way down from Washington to exhibit one of his trailers next to our Shelter booth at the festival. People were fascinated with his trailer and he had inquisitive visitors for the entire two days. Here is his video of a bunch of the rigs on display.



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Orlando’s Tiny Trailer Home

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Built on an old pop-top camper trailer by Orlando Garcia. Weighs 1900 lbs; trailer max is 2100.

Great cozy little interior space. Alternative to teardrop trailers. Great design.

I like the way he has extended outdoor space with shade.

At the TinyFest Festival in Pleasanton Sept. 10-11, 2022

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Simple Van Setup

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Brilliant simple van setup by Sam Ausden, who is pulling an equally brilliant trailer built with SIPs (structural insulated panels) with solar panels powering a big air conditioner and a 14kw 48-volt battery.

His units were on display at the TinyFest Festival last weekend.

There are 17 $8 milk crates holding everything. They are held snug with powerful magnets. Simple, cheap, practical, lightweight.

Quite a contrast with expensive, overbuilt, heavy Sprinter van conversions.

www.zerohouse.co

instagram.com/tallmaninavan

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Shelter Booth at Last Weekend’s TinyFest Festival in Pleasanton, Calif.

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Our booth at the TinyFest Festival at the Alameda Fairgrounds last weekend, where we sold books and had a great time meeting new friends.

At the booth, we introduced our just-published Rolling Homes book and we sold a lot of copies. Everyone seems to love it. For one thing, the timing — with all the new vans, trucks, trailers and other nomadic vehicles on the roads now.

Two of the contributors to the book showed up and parked their rigs next to our booth: Ben Bloom’s homemade redwood camper shell on his Toyota Tacoma truck and Paul Elkins’ bike-pulled solar- and wind-powered trailer. Both of these generated a lot of interest, with a steady stream of inquiring fair goers

On the first day, maybe 20 people came into the booth and thanked us for the books through the years. Really gratifying.

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Rolf Pot’s Ford Transit Connect Van

Having always been attracted to compact living spaces on wheels and having been stranded several times in VW Westfalias, I decided to start off with a basic solid vehicle with reliability, safety and small size in mind. The challenge of fitting as many desirable features in a limited space attracted me greatly. Found this 2017 Ford Transit Connect passenger van with 16K miles for 20K dollars here in the Bay Area.

Essential for me was being able to stand up and a sense of spaciousness. Hence the rear-hinged pop-top, purchased from England. Cutting it to size was a bit of a pain, a local welding shop made the strengthening frame, the rest was pretty straight forward. A single flex solar panel and a ceiling fan just fit on the 6″ top. The bed slides forwards and backwards to max 6′3″, while still allowing standing space to cook and stretch. A 200ah battery and 1K watt inverter is sufficient for blender, 150-watt space heater, movie screen etc. Slightly larger size tires and a yet to be installed 1″ lift kit gives it a bit more clearance. The van took 8 months to complete, gets 32 mpg at 65 mph on level road. Inadvertently the additional weight gives it a smooth ride while retaining enough power. The six speakers and good seats makes this a perfect rig for my travel needs and stealth camping. My pup Bella agrees!

Rolf Pot
Santa Cruz

Note: Rolf’s bus “Old Red” is featured in our new book Rolling Homes on pp. 204–205.

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