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More Photos of Bamboo Structure on Thai Island


Here are more photos (from Architectural Review) of the sculptural bamboo building on an island in the Gulf of Thailand (which was on my blog 3 weeks ago): http://www.arplus.com/9994/ecological-activity-and-education-center-koh-kood-thailand-by-24h-architecture/

Tiny Skateboarder on Steep Hill


I think I posted this a year or two ago, but just ran across it again. Made me smile all over again. Dude! I'm sure this little guy didn't take off down the hill, but it's the thought that counts. I can't find out who took it. (Here are 170 places it's appeared on the web, thanks to TinEye).

Spiffy Little Wood Rowboat


Isn't this pretty? It was down the beach from all the little beach huts, in front of a more substantial beach house.

Jerry Jeff Walker in Studio: Down in Belize

Our friend Minor Wilson just sent us this link to a studio video he and Daniel DeLoach made of Jerry Jeff Walker in Dripping Springs, Texas. In the "comments" section, one viewer wrote, "Belize? more like paradise. sweet melody and breeze that just feels right."

Excerpts from the lyrics:

"Sunny days of fishing in the salty air,
And the stars at night, there ain't no ambient light."

"Successful men get what they want, happy men want just what they got."


A House Built from Shelter 30 Years Ago

My wife Lesley is having an "open studio" of her quilts, jewelry and scarves this weekend. Yesterday a couple came by in a pickup truck, and the man said to me, "I want to thank you for the inspiration." Turned out he had picked up our book Shelter (1973) in the mid-'70s and it was the reason he decided to build his own house. He described how he built it (on poles), on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and they were still living there. He had this wonderful light in his eyes. These guys are like long-lost brothers. All the people I'm running across these days that were inspired by our books to create something is a bit overwhelming. I know it sounds self-aggrandizing to keep bringing it up, but darnit, it's happening like every week, and I'm stoked!

Stand By Me - Playing for Change

"Mark Johnson traveled around the globe and recorded tracks for such classics as "Stand By Me" and Bob Marley's "One World" — creating a new mix in which essentially the performers are all performing together — worlds apart. Often recording with just battery-powered equipment, Johnson found musicians on street corners or in small clubs and they would in turn gather their friends and colleagues — in all, they recorded over 100 musicians from Tibet to Zimbabwe." -http://bit.ly/6U1y9I

Here's the song "Stand by Me," written by Ben E. King, performed by musicians around the world (if you haven't already seen it on PBS). It's a wonderful job of editing. More info on Playing For Change — Peace Through Music at http://playingforchange.com/

Peppermint Candy Beach Hut


Looking out on the sea. There were some great sea shells, and flint-type rocks on the beach.

Tiny Beach Huts in England


When I have time I'm going through my photos in Europe and will post them occasionally, not in any special order. Just shots that catch my eye. This is a little colony of LITTLE huts on the sea next to an old fishing village on the southeast coast of England. People rent the land and build 10 'x 10' huts (none larger allowed) for day-trips to the beach. Barbecue, picnics, swimming, sailing. There are maybe 100 in this group, each unique. A way for non-millionaire families to have a seaside house. We spent two nights in one of these, it was great, sound of the sea, rain on the roof, eating and sleeping in a 100 sq. ft. house. How perfect, since I was going back home to do our next major building book on tiny houses (working on it now).

Running in the Moonlight

I took off on my Tuesday night run last night, headed up Frank's Valley, and then up Heather Trail, which zig-zags back and forth up the side of a hill to coastal Highway One. It's a climb of maybe 1000 feet, but very gradual in slope due to the switchbacks. There was half a moon, a clear night with stars out and after a few hundred yards I turned off my headlight and ran by moonlight. After my eyes got accustomed to the dark, the trail was pretty clear, and the light looked almost blue, with occasional dark shadows from t Bay tree branches. At the top, I ran along Highway One along the middle double yellow line, with lunar illumination. I went out on a scenic view point and looked out at the lights of crab boats. There was a large circular pattern of molten silver moonlight reflected on the ocean. I get ecstatic when things come together like this in the outdoors, it's such a thrill, especially being alone. The more time I spend these days in the electronic world, the more I need to get away from the computer and iPhone to recharge soul-wise. Jeez, at this exact moment, on the radio (Bluesville, Direct TV) is Howlin' Wolf singing "I'm a little red rooster," followed by Chick Wills singing "Soul of a Man." Speakin' of soul…

Home Made Wheelbarrow for Firewood

Robbie Newton lives on an island in British Columbia. His house, "Mossy Hollow," was shown in Builders of the Pacific Coast. Robbie just sent me this photo, which he describes as a "… 40 year old wheelbarrow which had served me and three others well, rebuilt to carry firewood logs. It’s another glued up construction, this time with enough heavy duty buried screws to make sure that it stays rigid. It carries remarkable loads with ease and if I have a round which is way beyond lifting, I just tip it on end and tip the wheelbarrow on its side next to it and it’s just as easy to lever them both upright."

Free-form Earth Structure in Colombia


I ran across the book Building With Earth by Gernot Minke when I was in London last month. It's just been published (Birkhäuser Publishers, Berlin) and is an informative, up-to-date handbook on earth architecture. I visited Minke some 20 years ago at his studio near Kassel, Germany, and saw a lot of his work with cob, strawbale, and living roofs — very advanced for the late '80s. He's kept at it, in addition to teaching at the University of Kassel, and this book is a culmination of all those years of work.
This photo, in the book, is of a building in a small town in Colombia by architect Octavio Mendoza Morales. More of Morales' work can be seen at: http://www.casaterracota.com. When you get to the site, it's in Spanish, so press: "Entrar," then "Galeria," then to see more photos, "siguiente."

Peter Buch's Sculpture Garden in Spain

This photo just came in from Taeke Henstra, a Dutch photographer living in Spain. it is the sculpture garden of artist Peter Buchs near Pueblo de Benifasar, a small mountain village in the La Senia region, in the Maestrazgo mountains in Spain. Lots of photos at: www.petersgarden.org

North Face Ultra Light Down jacket

I took this jacket on a 6-week trip through Europe. It's really warm, light, highly compactable. I could stuff it in my small backpack along with all my other stuff and pull it out if it got cold. I love getting back to down after all the Patagonia synthetics. I'm putting it on every morning (over multiple layers) when I go out to our unheated office to start the day. Here's what North Face says about it:
"The ultimate, ultra-lightweight down jacket for outdoor athletes to sport in freezing conditions, the Thunder Jacket also serves as a stellar jacket in cold weather. "…this thermal jacket’s ample 800 fill down has a true sweater-like fit and compacts small, making it ideal for backcountry overnighters.": http://bit.ly/6T7koY

Incredible Bamboo Structures in Vietnam



Incredible bamboo architecture by Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia from environmentalgraffiti.com: http://bit.ly/6HMWnW

10 Amazing Buildings Made of Dirt and Straw

This from environmentalgraffiti.com, which is a great website. This photo, by Gerry Thomasen, caught my eye because it's almost identical with a photo of mine of a cob/driftwood house in British Columbia that appeared in our Builders of the Pacific Coast. Two photographers with the same eye. A lot of eclectic interesting stuff on this website. Some great shots of earthen domiciles at: http://bit.ly/6D5f87

Uggs Boots

I've owned maybe 3 pair of Uggs Australian sheepskin boots, all of them the soft ones favored by surfers. Each pair lasted me through maybe 3 winters. (Our office has very little heat, so we dress warmly, and warm feet are half the equation.) One problem was that in walking through wet grass, the sheepskin would soak up water. This time I got their Beacon model, which has leather on the lower part, and they are terrific, as well as good looking. About $200, and I couldn't find any discounted (other than for size 12-13), so I got them direct from Ugg: http://bit.ly/7WDc7C

Living Earth Structures


Miguel Elliot, a Petaluma, Calif. native, specializes in creating various living earth structures such as cob benches, cob ovens, adobe dome saunas and small huts: http://www.livingearthstructures.com, 707-320-3609

Thatched Roofs Orkney Islands, UK


After my September posting "Dry-wall Stone Beehive Hut in Ireland," an anonymous reader wrote to tell me about the scarcity of wood in some parts of the UK (the beehive huts were all stone, no wood), and sent a link to an article titled "Thatch Traditions in Orkney Farm Buildings." It's a detailed account of construction of wood-framed thatched roofs in the Orkney Islands: http://bit.ly/3TmkQT

Yesterday's Adventures: Little House/'55 Olds 98/Dueling Deer/Running in the Rain

Question: where is this little house? Costa Rica? Hawaii? Mexico? Nope. It's on 5th Street in Berkeley, near our distributor's (Publishers Group West) office on 4th Street. It's a nice little unassuming neighborhood of modest small houses, adjacent to an industrial area and the train tracks. Of course as you head up toward the University of California campus, the neighborhoods and houses get more elegant and expensive.

In the cars-you-gotta-love department, this 1955 Oldsmobile 98 parked in San Rafael yesterday afternoon. I was 20 years old when this rolled off the assembly line. Check out the twin tear-drop spotlights; I had a pair on my '46 Chevy sedan. Oh, don't get me started talking about '40s & '50s cars!

Then around 6PM I was driving to meet my running friends, it was pitch black and cold. I was coming along the creek in Frank's Valley and here smack in the middle of the road were two big buck mule deer, squared off with horns locked, duking it out. They were oblivious to me and my headlights. They were pushing against each other, antlers clacking. Finally one pushed the other across the road and the loser ran up the bank. What a vision! I pictured a demure doe, brown eyed with long eyelashes awaiting the outcome, and about to take off with the Big Guy and perpetuate the species with good genes.

I'm running alone these days, until I get up to speed to run with the boys, so I took off along the coast, climbing up on the coastal trail with my strap-on headlight. It was raining lightly: I love running in the rain—once you get warmed up, it's glorious. The air was fresh and the ocean sweet-smelling. When I got to the lookout point, about 1000 feet above the ocean, I could see the lights of 8 crab boats; the season has just opened, and it looks like a good one, and the bigger boats pull their crab pots at night.

Our Green Festival Booth Sunday


Our booth was mobbed for a couple of hours on Saturday and then Sunday.I took this shot during a lull. We sold tons of books, and probably more importantly, gave out 400 Builders of the Pacific Coastt posters as well as about 1200 of our (small, 4-color) catalogs. Personal word-of-mouth publicity with ink on paper (posters, catalogs) in the electronic age.
Dozens of people came up and thanked me for the books over the years. Wow! The 60-year-olds invariably picked up Shelter, said they had a beat-up old copy, and reminisced about the '60s; the 40-year-olds said, "My Dad had this book, and I used to look through it…" The 20-30-year olds had just discovered either Home Work or Shelter, and were excited to see such things going on in the world. It seems like we're rapidly rebuilding a network of builders, gardeners, and homemakers. (We had such a network in the Whole Earth Catalog days, but it dissipated.) The feedback is wonderful. These people understand the books.

Three-Year-Old Real Goods Stockholder at SF Green Festival


This little guy was checking out the booth next to ours yesterday. (On lower left are the free Builders of the Pacific Coast posters we were giving out.)

Crests on Traditional Japanese Clothing


This is a link to a blog posting about a house in Gojo, Japan designed by architects Eastern Design Office for an artist, described on the blog as "…a traditional craftsman who puts the crest on Japanese traditional clothes." There are a bunch of photos of the concrete house, with its repeating circular motifs, and this display of some of the artist's crests (applied by hand to each garment). http://bit.ly/2nCGgK

Rainy Morning San Francisco

Went to a wonderful Leonard Cohen concert last night. It was the last stop on his current tour and had a feeling of finality, like maybe his last tour. Packed arena, and as the evening went on, there was a glow between LC and audience. They LOVED him, and it showed, and he responded. He has such a powerful suite of songs, a cooking 6-piece band of virtuosos, and a dream team trio of backup singers. Unique.
I'm writing this from a cool little cafe, with barista latte and free wi-fi, the Cafe Bean, 800 Sutter, checking my mail, getting ready to go over to the Green Festival. This fortune teller painting is just down the block.

Our Booth at Green Festival

green festival san francisco
Lew and I are getting pretty fast at setting up. This was the day before the event opened, and we hadn't put our tablecloths on or our books out.

Graffiti in San Francisco Alley

graffiti
In an alley around 14th and Valencia this morning on my way to the Green festival

Opposite House—Glass-box Boutique Hotel in China


There ARE good architects at work here and there in the world. This spiffy (and expensive) hotel was "…designed by the Japanese master of transparent buildings Kengo Kuma…" Further: "…The hotel's basement, packed with quality food and drink …has already become a crucial new destination for hip locals.… Bei serves both sushi and duck in a smart, modernist interior that pays homage to nature. At night, the basement becomes an epicenter for a stylish younger crowd thanks to the dance-friendly bar, Punk, which flows seamlessly to the basement landing offering a glimpse of the luminous 22-meter stainless-steel swimming pool."
I just ran across this at Ritual Roasters uber-coffee house in San Francisco, am on my way to set up our booth at the SF Green Festival. It was on a pretty cool website, goodhunting.com

Childrens Activity and Learning Centre at Thai Hotel


Childrens' center at the hotel resort Soneva Kiri on Koh Kood, an island in the Gulf of Thailand.
Architects: 24h > Architecture, Habita Architects
Programs: Auditorium/Cinema, Library, Art Room, Music Room, Fashion Room, Balcony and slide
Constructed Area: 165 sqm
Design Year: 2006 - 2007
Construction Year: 2008 - 2009
Photographs: Kiattipong Panchee and Boris Zeisser
http://bit.ly/3Jjp4Z

Last of the original Minis


I was walking down the sidewalk in Kenmare, Co. Kerry, in the morning (Sept. 23), and this guy came across the street, singing to his little girl (see her peeking through the window here). The Mini was his and I asked him about it (we have a Mini Cooper these days, and I used to rent these wonderful little cars in England and Ireland in the '70s). He said they made Minis up until 2001 (!) and you can tell the last production runs from the silver stripes.

Muckross Venture Center


This building was on the road going into Killarney, County Kerry. Don't know its history, but it's now used as a youth center.

Dry-wall Stone Beehive Hut in Ireland

beehive hut
I'm going through all my photos shot in Europe and will post a few from time to time. I could do a book on just this trip, but more pressing is to begin work (next month) on our new book on tiny houses. (We got content!)
This beehive hut is on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, on the southwest coast of Ireland. No mortar. A beehive hut is built in a circle of successive strata of stone; each stratum is a little closer to the center than the one beneath, and so on. At the top is a small aperture that's closed with a flagstone or capstone. They were built in the "early christian period," or around 200 AD, by farmers. Look at what you can do with just stone! (They are similar to the stone trulli of Puglia, Italy.)
It was a sunny day, the grass vivid green, and we wandered on the hillside, where there were huts and stone corrals, all looking down on the sparkling blue Dingle Bay. If I may be allowed a "woo-woo" moment here, I felt as if I'd been there before. It felt so familiar, so peaceful, so right.

Spectacular Cliffside House


I just ran across 13 photos of this house in Buchupureo, Chile and is the product of owners and architects Alvaro Ramirez and Clarisa Elton. Thanks to noah for info on location and owners.http://bit.ly/1hF5x2

Dutch Village With No Roads


A village in Holland with no roads. All transportation by boats, paths and bridges. http://www.manyholes.com/2009/09/fwd-roadless-village-at-holland/

Huge Treehouse in Crossville, Tennessee


Photo by Chuck Sutherland on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chucksutherland/3977773445/

Great Blues Videos

Blues fans, trust me:http://myhouseofblues.com Jeez, I can't get any work done this morning since Lew sent me this website. Right now listening to a bit of guitar heaven, BB King, Eric Clapton and BUDDY GUY doing "Rock Me baby."

Composting Toilet on Lasqueti Island

Open-air composting toilet built by Birchbarkbobananda out of cedar in British Columbia, he calls it "crap-cedral." This photo taken by his Estonian friends is at: http://bit.ly/4cCuAf
Birchbarkbobananda is a world traveler with bike and sleeping bag, last heard of sailing the Baltics with an Iranian adventurer, building a "free low tech hot tub…". His postings at: http://bit.ly/1sKi8i
Photo sent us by Godfrey Stephens. Check out Godfrey's amazing carvings and paintings at: http://www.godfreystephens.com

Al Whittle, Architectural Illustrator in UK

Al Whittle is an architectural detailer and illustrator who, with Jenny Broome, run Element Detailing Limited, a small company based in the East Midlands in the United Kingdom. In an era when architects are in general more proficient with CAD programs than pen-and-ink illustration, Al's drawings can help architects and builders visualize their projects. His drawings are really nice. Their studio is timber frame with strawbale walls and a sedum roof. http://www.elementdetailing.com/Site/Welcome.html
This sketch is a detail for a bat lantern roost situated on top of a sedum roof.

Building With Whole Trees


I think the NYTimes is one of the best things on the web. And it's free! (Unlike the Wall Street Journal, naturally.) Here's an article right up our alley. Roald Gundersen is a "forester-architect" who shapes trees while they're still growing in the woods, then uses them to frame buildings. Same as SunRay Kelley and other builders in our book Builders of the Pacific Coast. SunRay, you got a brother out there!
“'It’s eminently more frugal and sustainable than milling trees,' he added.…Loggers pass over such trees because they are too small to mill, but this forester-architect, who founded Gundersen Design in 1991 and built his first house here two years later, has made a career of working with them."
“''Curves are stronger than straight lines,' he explained. 'A single arch supporting a roof can laterally brace the building in all directions.”These are weed trees, so when you take them out, you improve the forest stand and get a building out of it. You haven’t stripped an entire hillside out west to build it, or used a lot of oil to transport the lumber'.”
Article (click here) by Anne Raver
Photos by Paul Kelley for the New York Times

Boletus Edulis

About an hour after I tweeted that I hoped new rains would bring out the mushrooms, Lew walked into the office with these porcinis. It inspired me to go on a running/mushroom safari that afternoon and I got several more pounds. They look so beautiful in the woods, the rich brown domes pushing up through pine needles. I gave some to friends and we had porcini pasta for dinner. We continue to eat more and more local and wild food. Great book for San Francisco Bay Area foragers is The Flavors of Home, by Margit Roos-Collins, A Heyday Press book unfortunately out-of-print.

Silver Surfer


Various people stayed in our house while we were traveling and when we got back, this little guy was sitting on the shelf above the sink. He's got character!

Parisian Street Pianist Roland Godard

I've been playing Roland's CD Et Son Piano A Tout Faire since I ran across him playing his little piano-on-wheels on the Deux Ponts Marie bridge over the Seine near Notre Dame. (See posting of October 24th.) I just found this Youtube clip of him at a Paris flea market. The sound isn't very good (sound is a lot better on his CD), but it shows him doing "All of Me." I can't find anywhere to get his album. If any web sleuth can track down his CD, let me know.

3-Wheeler Pizza Delivery in Germany

I used to see a lot of these little delivery vans when I was stationed in Germany (USAF) in the late '50s. I believe they were Vespas, not sure what this one is. Cute, eh?

Schreinerei Pfeiffer, Carpenters' Pub in Bad Homburg


Here's a photo of the beerhall/restaurant in Bad Homburg I wrote about last month (http://bit.ly/3tCQU7) that is decorated with hundreds of old carpenters' tools.

Church of the Redeemer, Bad Homburg, Germany

I stay in Bad Homburg each year when attending the Frankfurt Book Fair. It's a beautiful and wealthy spa town. Each year I wander around, and usually look into the beautiful Church of the Redeemer, an Evangelical (Protestant) church built by Kaiser Wilhelm II in the early 1900s."…the building is outwardly of a heavy, romanesque revival appearance, while its interior is…in a neo-Byzantine style, with rich marble wall decorations and gold mosaics covering the domed ceiling, leading to the church sometimes being called 'Bad Homburg's Hagia Sophia'" (Wikipedia)

Veiko Lasting—Builder in Estonia


We had a rather large network of builders, gardeners, and practitioners of the home arts in the '70s after we published Shelter. We lost track of most of these people in subsequent years, partly because had a 20-year interlude publishing fitness books, partly because the Whole Earth network faded away. Now that we're back in the home building field, we're assembling a (now online) community of like-minded folks. We have a huge amount of stuff for another general book on building (HomeWork 2) somewhere down the line. Here's an email we just got from Estonia; it's great to be hearing from simpatico people all over the world.

Dear Mr. Lloyd Khan,
My name is Veiko Lasting and I'm from country Estonia. Some years ago I saw one book HomeWork - and now in this spring I ordered it also to myself and soon also Builders of the Pacific Coast and Shelter.
Your books are very inspiering. after my friend Indrek saw how John Welles (HomeWork pg.25) was moving the house solo he started to build sauna also solo :) picture of it added.
I made myself nice cosy apartment, in the middle of Tallinn near old city, to the basement of one old wooden house…

Best regards
Veiko
some of my handworks:
http://www.aivel.ee/vldisain/index.htm

Young Frankenstein Revisited


I'd seen it several times in past years but I guess I never watched it that closely, because last week it had me falling out of my chair in laughter. Jesus! The performances are razor-sharp and inspired. The script is brilliant. And what I missed before is the beautiful photography. Not only is it in black and white, but the lighting is superb, each scene carefully composed. I had remembered Gene Wilder's scene where he is about to enter the room with the monster and he tells his assistants to not let him out of the room, "Do not open this door!!" and Madeline Kahn saying, "Come here, you hot monster!" but there were a dozen other gems, like Cloris Leachman's scene, which has been running through my mind:
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: "Then you and Victor were.…"
Frau Blücher: "YES. YES. Say it. He…vas…my.…BOYFRIEND!"
Here's a 5-minute cut on Youtube of a bunch of scenes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p5AG0Tqh3A

Toyota iQ 1.0 - 65 miles per gallon


I'm going through notes from my recent trip to Europe this week. Here's what looks like a great little car; it unfortunately won't be available in the USA until late 2010 or so. Toyota does it again. http://bit.ly/2eOCPP

Mossy Hollow Redux

One of the charmers of Builders of the Pacific Coast is "Mossy Hollow," Robbie Newton's green mossy-roofed cabin in the woods that look like part of the surrounding forest. Robbie recently sent us this photo (by Paul), taken of him (Robbie) at the cabin in 1976. A wonderful era! Robbie points out that the house was originally built by John and Margie. Mossy Hollow is in the woods of a small island in British Columbia.

Lamella Roof Construction


My posting of Oct 30 on the gridshell building in the UK drew this response (from Anonymous): "Here is another inventive timber roof system. A carpenter is capable of amazing things!" Which led me to further exploration: http://bit.ly/4hNRje and http://bit.ly/4fXIvP
Photo of house with lamella arched roof in Merseburg, Germany in the '20s