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.
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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