Built By Hand

Built By Hand
Authors: Eiko Komatsu, Athena Steen, Bill Steen
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Gibbs Smith, Publisher; 1 edition (September 26, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 158685237X
ISBN-13: 978-1586852375

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A modern, full-color version of the Bernard Rudofsky classic ‘Architecture without Architects’, this book takes readers on a magnificent journey to distant corners of the earth in search of the world’s most amazing vernacular architecture. It is the most comprehensive and groundbreaking documentation of hand-made architecture ever published. (Prarie Avenue Bookshop Holiday Gift Guide )

From elaborate bamboo structures in Sumba, Indonesia, to houses carved out of volcanic rock in Cappadocia, Turkey, and homes made from earth-block in Chipaya, Bolivia, Japanese photographer Yoshio Komatsu (assisted by spouse Eiko) has traveled the world photographing vernacular structures. The Steens (The Straw Bale House) provide captions and notes on construction techniques in stone, reeds and many other materials. With more than 700 full-color photos in an 8″X9″ format, the book takes readers to Ethiopia, Iran, Japan, Spain, Venezuela and many other places. (Publishers Weekly )

“more than just a collection of amazing photos” (The Last Straw Journal )

Product Description

Shelter the Human Family is the most extensive documentation ever published of traditional (“vernacular”) buildings throughout the world. With examples from nearly every continent, the book documents the diverse methods people have used to create shelter from locally available natural materials, and shows the impressively handmade finished products through this truly stunning compilation of photographs. Unlike modern buildings that rely on industrially produced materials and highly specialized electric tools and techniques, the shelters featured here represent a rapidly disappearing genre of handcrafted and beautifully composed structures. They are the work of simple and real people who, as builders and homesteaders, have integrated artistic beauty and practical form into their shelter needs. Shelter the Human Family offers insights into the world of vernacular building, along with potential solutions to many of the problems that plague modern architecture. It is a must-have collection that preserves and documents the rich cultural past of each structure and its community, and offers inspiration for those looking to build in a way that is motivated by something larger than speed, efficiency, and economic profit. Bill and Athena Steen are the authors of The Straw Bale House and The Beauty of Straw Bale. They are active in community building programs that teach low-income families how to build their own shelters, and known for their efforts to incorporate artistic techniques based on local and natural materials into the world of modern construction. They live in Elgin, Arizona. Yoshio Komatsu has been photographing buildings and people around the world for 25 years. His photographs were collected in the Japanese book Living on Earth, and his work is regularly published in books, magazines, and calendars throughout Japan. This is his first book in English. He and his wife, Eiko, live in Tokyo.

Authentic Small Houses of the Twenties: Illustrations and Floor Plans of 254 Characteristic Homes

Authentic Small Houses of the Twenties: Illustrations and Floor Plans of 254 Characteristic Homes

Author(s): Robert T. Jones

Publisher: Dover Publications

ISBN: 0486254062

ISBN-13: 978-0486254067

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As all of history is cyclical, so is home architecture in America. Authentic Small Houses of the Twenties shows wonderful possibilities for houses that capture the “Not so Big House” ideal, a movement gaining momentum in this day of the McMansion. The product of a joint venture by the U. S. Dept. of Commerce and the American Institute of Architects after WWI, these house plans show marvelous use of interior space, detailing and economy. Although the house plans with sketches or photos of each shown are not available, as far as I know, in blueprint form for purchase, they furnish tremendous grist for the creative future home owner. A treasure!

Tiny Tiny Houses

Tiny Tiny Houses Author(s): Lester Walker

Publisher: Overlook Press

ISBN: 0879512717

ISBN-13: 978-0879512712

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July 1987

Tiny Houses contains the plans for forty-four houses so small that anyone can afford to have one—and so thoughtfully designed that anyone can build one—each offering the dream of solitude, a place to escape for a weekend of romance, meditation, or whimsy. Award-winning architect Lester Walker shows how, with a little energy and imagination, everyone’s dream of owning a home, or having a second home in the country, is within reach.

About the Author

Lester Walker is an award-winning architect and a partner in the architectural firm StudioWorks in Woodstock, New York.


Customer Comments

from New York State (US) , September 15, 1998
Highly recommended if you’re building a small, unique home
My father lent me this book after I bought some property (19 acres) and told him I was planning on building a small dwelling there–not necessarily with heat and running water. (But with ISDN or satellite connectivity, of course. ;) The collection of house profiles is inspiring! From a thatch dwelling, to a two-story built entirely by the woman living there. Famous tiny houses include Thomas Jefferson’s honeymoon cottage (which I will probably be building), Thoreau’s cabin, George Bernard Shaw’s rotating writing hut. Each house profile includes photos, sketches and floor plans (including tiny furniture).

I’m coming here to get a copy for the friend/architect who I’m going to have draw up the plans!

Ecological Design

Ecological Design

Author(s): Sim Van Der Ryn, Stuart Cowan

Publisher: Island Press

ISBN: 1559633883

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Hardcover, 200 pages

Ecological Design presents a vision of how the living world and the human world can be rejoined by taking ecology as the basis for design–adapting and integrating human design with natural processes. The authors weave together case studies, personal anecdotes, images and theory to provide a thorough treatment of the concept of ecological design.

Card catalog description
Ecological design, the marriage of nature and technology, can be applied at all levels of scale to create revolutionary forms of buildings, landscapes, cities, and technologies. Some examples include sewage treatment plants that use constructed marshes to purify water; agricultural systems that mimic and merge with their surrounding landscapes; industrial ecosystems in which waste from one productive process becomes fuel for the next. The authors weave together case studies, personal anecdotes, dialogues, images, and theory to provide a thorough treatment of the concept of ecological design. In the process, they present and explain a series of design principles that can help build a sustainable world with increased efficiency, fewer toxics, less pollution, and healthier natural systems. –This text refers to the paperback edition of this title.

Table of Contents
Pt. 1. Bringing Design to Life

  • Sustainability and Design
  • An Introduction to Ecological Design
  • Nature’s Geometry

Pt. 2. The Ecological Design Process

  • Introduction: The Compost Privy Story
  • First Principle: Solutions Grow from Place
  • Second Principle: Ecological Accounting Informs Design
  • Third Principle: Design with Nature
  • Fourth Principle: Everyone Is a Designer
  • Fifth Principle: Make Nature Visible

Resource Guide for Ecological Design

Drawn from African Dwellings

Drawn from African Dwellings

Drawn from African Dwellings

Author(s): Jean-Paul Bourdier, T. Minh-Ha Trinh, Trinh T. Minh-Ha

Publisher: Indiana Univ Press

ISBN: 0253330432

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“… an elegant and lyrical work…. It opens up our understanding of space and built environments in new and exciting ways.” — Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review

“The book offers marvellous drawings of complex patterns of structure, design and object, coupled with connections to the daily lives of the inhabitants. In itself, this book is an essential addition to what Indiana University Press has aptly described as ‘the understanding of vernacular architecture’.” — West Africa

“… a magnificent achievement; [the authors] set an objective and a standard in vernacular architecture research which is without parallel. The text is clear and careful, sensitive to the cultures yet quietly rigorous. The drawings are outstanding and have been exceptionally well reproduced in a book whose quality of production matches that of the content.” — Paul Oliver

“… a lasting monument to African architectures…. a fine creation, a collage of marvelous graphic images, earnest research, good writing, careful thinking.” — Henry Glassie

“Scholars are realizing how important it is to provide a rich, thick cultural and social setting when they attempt to explore art…. This book does that for architecture.” — Patrick R. McNaughton

“… will be regarded as an important contribution to the understanding of vernacular architecture.” — Berkeley Tri-City Post

“… a stunning piece of work… An important contribution to architecture…” — FIST, Afrocentric On-line Magazine

“The photographs and drawings are fascinating. ” — The New Brunswick Reader

Architect Jean-Paul Bourdier and cultural critic and filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha take us into the traditionally built dwellings of African society in this richly illustrated book. Through this “life-in-architecture” we see material evidence of a culture, its socio-economic and cosmological organization, its way of living, and its world view.

About the Author

JEAN-PAUL BOURDIER, Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, is the editor and co-founder of Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review. TRINH T. MINH-HA, Professor in the Departments of Women’s Studies and Film Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of a number of books, including Woman, Native, Other. Her films are Reassemblage, Naked Spaces — Living Is Round, Surname Viet Given Name Nam, Shoot for the Contents, and A Tale of Love.

The Cottage Book

The Cottage BookAuthor(s): Richard Sexton

Publisher: Chronicle Books

ISBN: 0877015139

ISBN-13: 978-0877015130

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Richard Sexton, who himself lives in a small hillside cottage overlooking the city by the bay, has translated his passion for these quaint, rustic, and informal dwellings into a volume of captivating color images. You can live the cottage life vicariously through Sexton; his photographs have an almost three-dimensional feel that gives you the sense of being there. Picturing yourself having lunch on the deck of a houseboat shown in these pages is a breeze, for he is a master of lighting and mood.

Customer Comments

A reader from Trenton, New Jersey , 04/13/98, rating=9:
A mini-vacation between two hard covers. An informative, enjoyable, aesthetically pleasing book about the cottages and cottage styles of San Francisco. The first chapter tells the story of how San Francisco cottages developed, and then specific cottages are showcased. Many views are of the exteriors, but some include interior photos with the homeowners’ stories and quotes. Many individual cottages and styles are shown, providing variety and a feast for the eye. This book is a great get-away when you can’t actually get away, and leads to very pleasant daydreaming. –This text refers to the hardcover edition of this title.

Circle Houses

Circle Houses

Author(s): David Pearson

Publisher: Chelsea Green (October 1, 2001)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1890132861

ISBN-13: 978-1890132866

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Nature is filled with circles and animal homes are no exception. From bird nests to beaver lodges, it’s difficult for find an angle. Nomadic people continued the pattern. Round-shaped homes, echoing natural forms, have sheltered human families since the dawn of recorded time. Given this bias toward circles, it’s surprising how unusual circular houses are in industrialized society. In our disconnected world, the circle has given way to the box.

As David Pearson explains in his introduction, “Like our nomadic ancestors, many of us have a deep yearning to roam with the seasons and be close to nature and the cosmos. The traditional forms of the yurt, tipi and bender are the apogee of this experience. . . . Nomadic populations live in some of the most inhospitable and barren regions of the world and this is why they are nomads. Whether it be the deserts of the Sahara and Gobi, the steppes of Mongolia, or the polar tundras, these vast areas are either too hot and arid or too cold and windswept to be cultivated. An African grass-covered hut, a Romany gypsy ‘bender,’ an Asian yurt, or a Native American tipi are all perfect lessons in appropriate design and sustainable building. Refined over generations, they are simple yet sophisticated, beautiful and comfortable.”

Remarkable for their economy, resilience and portability, these structures have continued to exert a powerful appeal in modern times. And beyond practicality, what the circle dwellers in this book speak of most eloquently is the incomparable spiritual resonance of round homes, which “represent the universe in microcosm: the floor (Earth), the roof (sky), and the hole in the roof (the sun).”

Circle Houses is a fascinating glimpse of tradition meeting timelessness, filled with stories of 21st-century nomads and complete with basic instructions for designing and constructing your own yurt, tipi or bent-frame tent.

About the Author David Pearson is an architect and the author of several acclaimed books on natural design.

Hardcover, 95 pages

Earth-Sheltered Dwellings in Tunisa: Ancient Lessons for Modern Design

Earth-Sheltered Dwellings in Tunisa: Ancient Lessons for Modern DesignAuthor(s): Gideon S. Golany

Publisher: Univ of Delaware Press

ISBN: 0874132975

ISBN-13: 978-0874132977

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Earth-Sheltered Dwellings in Tunisa : Ancient Lessons for Modern Design Hardcover Publication date: October 1988

This contributes to an understanding of the traditionally evolved system of below-ground housing and suggest show the design of modern earth-sheltered space can be improved. Within the context of Tunisian underground dwellings, this book studies heat gain and loss, and presents field research on the plan, operation, and functional aspects of such housing.

Natural Ventilation in Buildings: A Design Handbook

Natural Ventilation in Buildings: A Design Handbook

Author(s): Francis Allard, Ed.

Hardcover: 366 pages

Publisher: Routledge (February 1, 1998)

ISBN: 1873936729

ISBN-13: 978-1873936726

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Ventilating buildings naturally — with minimal use of mechanical devices — offers environmental, economic, comfort and health benefits. Approaches can be high-tech or low-tech, but always need to be part of an integrated design strategy. A range of technical barriers, such as building codes, fire regulations and acoustics, also need to be taken into account.

This new handbook describes the real potential of natural ventilation, its appropriate use, the design and dimensioning methodologies, the need for an integrated design approach, and how to overcome barriers. It includes a CD-ROM with software to assist in the calculation of airflow rate in natural ventilation configurations. This air flow modelling software is a bonus and does not form an integral part of the book, so you will derive maximum benefit from the book without having to use the software. The software requires at least a 486DX, Windows 3.1 (or higher), 5Mb free hard disk space for installation, 16Mb RAM and VGA Monitor 640×480. The program makes considerable use of virtual memory. While these are minimum requirements, a more advanced computer is recommended.

The book will provide essential design information for architects, building engineers and other building design professionals. Published in the United Kingdom.

368 pages, 1998, Hardcover

…this is an exceptionally well researched book on a subject of great importance and some controversy… WORLD ARCHITECTURE

The Architecture of Affordable Housing

The Architecture of Affordable Housing

Author(s): Sam Davis

Publisher: Univ California Press

ISBN: 0520208854

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The Architecture of Affordable Housing

Paperback, 220 pages
Publication date: June 1997

From Booklist , 04/15/95:
The architecture of affordable housing has assumed as many forms as the very nomenclature. Davis presents a history of poor, low-income, social, and subsidized housing using examples of Frank Lloyd Wright, the WPA, and contemporary case studies in the most expensive state in the union, California. These examples illustrate that while the beliefs surrounding affordable housing have changed, the need has been steady, if not growing. They also illustrate many myths, one being that affordable housing most often isn’t any cheaper to build than market-rate housing. The in-depth documentation of the community planning process shows just how passionate the contesting parties are and how complex the issues have become. While not offering Wright’s technical secrets on cost cutting, the California case studies lend the book a credibility from which both laypeople and architects can benefit. But, ultimately, the 10 award-winning projects the author presents as evidence of good architecture fulfilling a social need skirt the real issue: Why is it that award-winning projects can turn into unlivable places and that less attractive ones can be wonderful places to live? While the book is valuable, Davis does not address the issue of place-making and community, which many believe is the heart of the affordable housing crisis. Copyright© 1995, American Library Association. All rights reserved

Architect Sam Davis contends that a country of wealth that cannot provide sound housing for those in need is a national embarrassment. Here Davis explores the design possibilities of dignified affordable housing for those not served by the private sector and how that housing could fit comfortably into our communities. 108 illus.

Table of Contents
1. The Architect and Affordable Housing
2. The Process: The Long and Winding Road
3. Why Affordable Housing Isn’t
4. Design: Things Big and Small, Far and Near
5. Is Affordable Housing Significant Architecture?
Illustration Credits