The Sustainable Architecture Thread

19 posts / 0 new
Last post
Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
The Sustainable Architecture Thread

Well, the title says it all.  This thread is for posting information about sustainable building techniques.  I started it because I couldn't identify the appropriate place to post two of the most inspiring videos and articles I've seen in a while.  The video is only 7 minutes long, and worthwhile, if only because it will make you smile.  Here it is.  (October 7, 2009 post -- Video on page).

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
The Recycled House

Let's try that link again:  Here it is.  (September 7, 2009 post.  Video and slideshow on page)

ReginaF's picture
ReginaF
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 16 2009
Posts: 93
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread

Hi Linda,

thank you for doing your own blog! I'm really interested in joining those topics and put it under my "favorites" - so I can read more and more over the time following!

Greetings from Germany
Regina

 

BungeeBones's picture
BungeeBones
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 2 2009
Posts: 38
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread

This is a lot more urban, and a bit more politically charged, but this outfit is putting people into foreclosed homes south of here in Miami.

There are a number of  major network interviews and videos about it at http://takebacktheland.org/

 

Florida has one of the "best" "squatters rights laws.

 

I bought a house from the city of Utica NY but they had waited until the place was trashed before finally pricing it realistically to move. Actually I paid $100 for it at auction and no one bid against me. I joke that I really paid too much. Did urban homesteading there 3 years.

 

 

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread
spectrabil wrote:

Hi Linda,

thank you for doing your own blog! I'm really interested in joining those topics and put it under my "favorites" - so I can read more and more over the time following!

Greetings from Germany
Regina

 

 

Thanks, Regina.  Good to hear from you  There's a link for subscribing to my blog's feed, at the bottom of the right-hand side-bar, to make it easy for you.

sjdavis's picture
sjdavis
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 21 2008
Posts: 78
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread

Hi Linda, thanks for getting this started.  Just an awesome story and a topic overdue for the CM forums.

Been a while since we chatted.  Let me just say that since you set me at ease, our small lot is producing delicious greens where a couple of less than healthy conifers once stood... we started small and realize we can do more.  Great thanks.

Not sure if you've seen the documentary Garbage Warrior, but think it would bring similar enjoyment.  After all, what's not to enjoy about re-purposed garbage?  Quick summary, the guy uses auto tires packed with dirt for insulation and soda bottles for light.  I don't want to give anything away in case anyone is going to check out the documentary, but their work has touched people that desperately needed help, just as Mr. Phillips is doing.

Stu

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread

One of my pet subjects this one.....

However, at the expense of sounding negative yet again, this whole concept has in  reality very little scope for the building of lots of "nice" housing for the masses. When you analyse this, slums are built like this, FOR THE MASSES, and it's nowhere near as pretty.

Building anything from reclaimed materials is truly a labor of love, I know, because I've done this. We recently replaced one set of (illegal) reclaimed internal stairs (for approval purposes) with another, and the amount of time it took to denail, plane, level, stain, etc etc the new stairs was not something I'd recommend for anyone short of time and patience. I'm convinced it cost us more than building themm out of new materials in fact!

Our house is still not "approved", and one of the stumbling blocks is that nearly all our windows and doors are recycled, and hence the glass is old, and new regulations insist we have toughened glass in anything that's likely to be fallen through...... and yet this glass is probably 50 years aold, and no one's fallen through it yet!

Then consider just how many licence plates and crystla platters are lying around to build houses with...

You see, some of us can do this, but not the masses. The masses will live in slums built also out of recycled "anything they can find". I'll betthere won't be too many crystal platters!

In the end, too many people make the possibility of doing anything sustainably........ ZERO.

Mike

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Minigardens for Vertical Gardening
sjdavis wrote:

Hi Linda, thanks for getting this started.  Just an awesome story and a topic overdue for the CM forums.

Been a while since we chatted.  Let me just say that since you set me at ease, our small lot is producing delicious greens where a couple of less than healthy conifers once stood... we started small and realize we can do more.  Great thanks.

Not sure if you've seen the documentary Garbage Warrior, but think it would bring similar enjoyment.  After all, what's not to enjoy about re-purposed garbage?  Quick summary, the guy uses auto tires packed with dirt for insulation and soda bottles for light.  I don't want to give anything away in case anyone is going to check out the documentary, but their work has touched people that desperately needed help, just as Mr. Phillips is doing.

Stu

Hi, Stu;

I'm so glad to hear that's worked out for you . . . . I know how heart-wrenching it can be to take down trees that have become old friends.  In your limited space, you might also consider:  Minigardens for Vertical Gardening.  (October 8, 2009 post).  As I recall, you have tight space limitations on your property . . .

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Housing the Masses and Online Personas
Damnthematrix wrote:

One of my pet subjects this one.....

However, at the expense of sounding negative yet again, this whole concept has in  reality very little scope for the building of lots of "nice" housing for the masses. When you analyse this, slums are built like this, FOR THE MASSES, and it's nowhere near as pretty.

Building anything from reclaimed materials is truly a labor of love, I know, because I've done this. We recently replaced one set of (illegal) reclaimed internal stairs (for approval purposes) with another, and the amount of time it took to denail, plane, level, stain, etc etc the new stairs was not something I'd recommend for anyone short of time and patience. I'm convinced it cost us more than building themm out of new materials in fact!

Our house is still not "approved", and one of the stumbling blocks is that nearly all our windows and doors are recycled, and hence the glass is old, and new regulations insist we have toughened glass in anything that's likely to be fallen through...... and yet this glass is probably 50 years aold, and no one's fallen through it yet!

Then consider just how many licence plates and crystla platters are lying around to build houses with...

You see, some of us can do this, but not the masses. The masses will live in slums built also out of recycled "anything they can find". I'll betthere won't be too many crystal platters!

In the end, too many people make the possibility of doing anything sustainably........ ZERO.

Mike

Hi, Mike;

I think that your analysis is not necessarily negative, per se, but is rather accurate.  From my viewpoint, part of the problem is with our intrusive building laws .  .

And, I must agree that this solution does not work, mathematically speaking, for a burgeoning population.  There are population solutions that do not involve childbearing quotas, genicide, or mass life-limitation strategies, but they are, by decree, outside the scope of this venue. 

Nonetheless, I admire Dan Phillips' attitude.  Rather than being overwhelmed by a massive, worldwide problem, he has chosen to "act locally" with what's in front of him, to improve one life at a time.  I daresay that if we all did that, we could accomplish a great deal more, with fewer resources, than we do today . . . .

BTW, I think I ran across a video interview of you, apparently at your place of residence.  If that was you, I must say that I very much enjoyed "meeting" you  . . . It was an interesting experience to "see" and "hear" you . . . . and I was struck by how different my mental picture of you, based on your postings, was from the "you" that was presented in the video . . . Please don't get me wrong . . . I don't see this as anything that is unique to you, or how you interact online, or in person. . . . Rather, it was a lesson for me in understanding the difference between knowing someone online, and knowing someone in reality.  For what it's worth, I found your video persona very engaging . . .

yoshhash's picture
yoshhash
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 20 2008
Posts: 271
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread

thank you Cloudfire for this thread.  I don't really have anything to add, but just wanted to say that it really resonates with me.  I am an architect, (recently graduated with my bachelor degree, still working on my thesis), with exactly the philosophy and drive as Dan Phillips, featured in the article.

Unfortunately, almost all architecture schools are extremely artsy/snobby, filled with extremely priveliged kids who can barely grasp the concept of true need. Consequently, it is very difficult to  find anyone who appreciates this kind of architecture.  There are only 2 North American schools that I know of that teaches with a true appreciation of designing for the impoverished- Samuel Mockby and Wes Jans (can't remember where the schools are right now).

I did not do well with the design portion of my courses, - although I am obviously very biased, I now feel I am/was to practical, too obsessed with not wasting materials.  I am extremely comfortable and skilled at building/designing "on the spot", according to what materials are local, affordable/free, appropriate and plentyful.  I am NOT very skilled in presenting an artful proposal of what I "expect" might be such a material in some future scenario.  I thought I could, but I guess I can't.  My thesis revolves around the waste produced by the construction industry and why recycling/repurposing needs to be integrated into the process.

It is also very hard to find employers who appreciate it too.  It looks like I will have to go it alone.  I am a carpenter/construction worker as well, so this seems to be a natural path, but I can see I was being way too idealistic in anticipating the marketability of such skills.  It is really nice to see Mr. Phillips carve out a niche, it gives me renewed hope (I saw the clip at least a year ago, but forgot all about it.)  I wonder how he actually makes money off this though.  (I am not driven by money, but I do have billsto pay.)  If anyone knows of any firms- architecture or construction- who successfully practices this sort of building, please post up.

If it sounds like I am bitter or regretting my path, I am not.  Only wishing I had known what architecture schools were really like before I started, and been more focused on what I was trying to do- but I guess that is what life is all about- self discovery.

Glaucus's picture
Glaucus
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 25 2008
Posts: 18
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread

"However, at the expense of sounding negative yet again, this whole concept has in reality very little scope for the building of lots of "nice" housing for the masses. When you analyse this, slums are built like this, FOR THE MASSES, and it's nowhere near as pretty."

For what it's worth, this is precisely what I'm trying to overcome via the commercialization of a portable building system that makes interlocking blocks out of pre-processed local waste materials that can be laid as they are made with unskilled labor.  Adaptable to virtually any environment but ideal for urban areas where the need is as great as the wastes are plentiful.

Will keep everyone posted.

sjdavis's picture
sjdavis
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 21 2008
Posts: 78
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread

In your limited space, you might also consider:  Minigardens for Vertical Gardening.  (October 8, 2009 post).  As I recall, you have tight space limitations on your property . . .

That's right, tight space, but a good bit is south facing.  I like the minigardens - both functional and aesthetically easy on the eyes.  Didn't realize there is a Smith and Hawken in the area until checking your blog, but am going to try to get there this weekend.  

Next up, figure out the location, size, and orientation for a greenhouse.  There are so many companies that sell kits and I'm sure plenty of people build their own.  We're thinking of doing some espalier fruit trees along the northern fence, but that's probably the best spot for a greehouse.

bbobwat33's picture
bbobwat33
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 6 2009
Posts: 21
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread

i love this company. they manufacture "double envelope" homes. 

http://www.enertia.com/

thatchmo's picture
thatchmo
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 14 2008
Posts: 432
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread

How much exactly do we need?  I just love these homes. 

http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

Not sure I could actually live in one during a long (or short) winter though.....Aloha, Steve.

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread
thatchmo wrote:

How much exactly do we need?  I just love these homes. 

http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

Not sure I could actually live in one during a long (or short) winter though.....Aloha, Steve.

Those are very cool, Thatchmo . . . and I can relate, as we'e been shoehorning a mother-in-law apartment into our none-to-big house, and we do plan every tiny detail, including ventilation and electrical outlets, down to a tee, using every little nook and cranny for storage.  It really is amazing how much one can get out of a small space, especially when one is willing to "go vertical", which is what this fellow seems to do with his lofts and storage spaces.  I also especially like the way the unit can be trailered, allowing one to be mobile, without the indignity of a "mobile home".  And, I guess, if one succumbed to longing for a "real" home, the "little house" would be comparatively easily sold, or plunked down on the new property, as a guest house.  Hmmm . . . If it remained mobile, would it be property-taxable, as real estate? 

 

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
The Quality without a Name
yoshhash wrote:

thank you Cloudfire for this thread.  I don't really have anything to add, but just wanted to say that it really resonates with me.  I am an architect, (recently graduated with my bachelor degree, still working on my thesis), with exactly the philosophy and drive as Dan Phillips, featured in the article.

Unfortunately, almost all architecture schools are extremely artsy/snobby, filled with extremely priveliged kids who can barely grasp the concept of true need. Consequently, it is very difficult to  find anyone who appreciates this kind of architecture.  There are only 2 North American schools that I know of that teaches with a true appreciation of designing for the impoverished- Samuel Mockby and Wes Jans (can't remember where the schools are right now).

I did not do well with the design portion of my courses, - although I am obviously very biased, I now feel I am/was to practical, too obsessed with not wasting materials.  I am extremely comfortable and skilled at building/designing "on the spot", according to what materials are local, affordable/free, appropriate and plentyful.  I am NOT very skilled in presenting an artful proposal of what I "expect" might be such a material in some future scenario.  I thought I could, but I guess I can't.  My thesis revolves around the waste produced by the construction industry and why recycling/repurposing needs to be integrated into the process.

It is also very hard to find employers who appreciate it too.  It looks like I will have to go it alone.  I am a carpenter/construction worker as well, so this seems to be a natural path, but I can see I was being way too idealistic in anticipating the marketability of such skills.  It is really nice to see Mr. Phillips carve out a niche, it gives me renewed hope (I saw the clip at least a year ago, but forgot all about it.)  I wonder how he actually makes money off this though.  (I am not driven by money, but I do have billsto pay.)  If anyone knows of any firms- architecture or construction- who successfully practices this sort of building, please post up.

If it sounds like I am bitter or regretting my path, I am not.  Only wishing I had known what architecture schools were really like before I started, and been more focused on what I was trying to do- but I guess that is what life is all about- self discovery.

Hi, Yoshhash;

Thanks for your self-revelatory post . . . I can relate to your disjuncture between the conception and the presentation of your designs.  I find the same thing in garden design  . . .  but, I am not sure that it is a liability, as long as one doesn't measure success in numbers, fame, or currency.  Have you read Gaston Bachelard's books?  Although they are primarily aimed at architecture, I read him as part of a quest to develop my creative sense of space, in order to apply the principles to garden design.  In The Poetics of Space -- The Classic Look at How We Experience Intimate Places, he talks about how the creative process is actually pre-conscious . . . He relates this primarily to poetry (one of his passions), but the concepts are transferrable to any creative process.  Bachelard is a philosopher, first, and his works were originally written in French, so his works are pithy.  I found that a few paragraphs were often all that I could truly absorb, at a sitting.  But, the concepts were entirely original, and have had a profound influence on how I view the creative process.  Most importantly, he has helped me resist the destruction of my creative ability through "education".

An excerpt:  "The images I want to examine are the quite simple images of felicitous space.  In this orientation, these investigations would deserve to be called topophilia.  They seek to determine the human value of the sorts of space that may be grasped, that may be defended against adverse forces, the space we love.  For diverse reasons, and with the differences entailed by poetic shadings, this is eulogized space.  Attached to its protective value, which can be a positive one, are also imagined values, which soon become dominant.  Space that has been seized upon by the imagination cannot remain indiffferent space subject to the measures and estimates of the surveyor.  It has been lived in, not in its positivity, but with all the partiality of the imagination.  Particularly, it nearly always exercises an attraction.  For it concentrates being within limits that protect.  In the realm of images, the play between the exterior and intimacy is not a balanced one . . . "

 

Christopher Alexander is an author who writes more specifically about architecture and civic design (I intentionally avoid the word "engineering" here.)  His work reflects Bachelard's concepts, only on a cultural and community scale.  In The Timeless Way of Building, he speaks of how buildings and towns will only be alive to the extent that they are "governed by the timeless way".  Here is his "Detailed Table of Contents" for The Timeless Way of Building:

THE TIMELESS WAY

A building or town will only be alive to the extent that it is governed by the timeless way. 

1.  It is a process which brings order out of nothing but ourselves; it cannot be attained, but it will happen of its own accord, if we will only let it.

THE QUALITY

To seek the timeless way we must first know the quality without a name.

2.  There is a central quality which is the root criterion of life and spirit in a man, a town, a building, or a wilderness.  This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named.

3.  The search which we make for this quality, in our own lives, is the central search of any person and the crux of any individual person's story.  It is the search for those moments and situations when we are most alive.

4.  In order to define this quality in buildings and in towns, we must begin by understanding that every place is given its character by certain patterns of events that keep on happening there.

5.  These patterns of events are always interlocked with certain geometric patterns in the space.  Indeed, as we shall see, each building and each town is ultmately made out of these patterns in the space, and out of nothing else:  they are the atoms and the molecules from which a building or a town is made.

6.  The specific patterns out of which a building or a town is made may be alive or dead.  To the extent they are alive, they let our inner forces lose, and set us free but ewhen they are dead, they keep us locked in innner conflict.

7.  The more living patterns there are in a place - a room, a building, or a town, -- the more it comes to life as an entirety, the more it glows, the more it has that self-maintaining fire which is the quality without a name. 

8.  And when a building has this fire, then it becomes a part of nature.  Like ocean waves, or blades of grass, its parts are governed by the endless play of repetition and variety created in the presence of the fact that all things pass.  This is the quality itself.

THE GATE

To reach the quality without a name we must then build a living pattern language as a gate.

9.  This quality in buildings and towns cannot be made, but only generated indirectly, by the ordinary actions of the people, just as a flower cannot be made, but only generated from the seed.

10.  The people can shape buildings for themselves, and have done it for centuries, by using languages which I call pattern languages.  A pattern language gives each person who uses it the power to create an infinite variety of new and unique buildings, just as his ordinary language gives him the power to create an infinite variety of sentences.

11.  These pattern languages are not confined to villages and farm society.  All acts of building are governed by a pattern language of some sort, and the patterns in the world are there, entirely because they are created by the pattern languages which people use.

12.  And, beyond that, it is not just the shape of towns and buildings which comes from pattern languages -- it is their quality as well.  Even the life and beauty of the most awe-inspiring great religious buildings came from the languages their builders used.

13.  But in our time the languages have broken down.  Since they are no longer shared, the processes which keep them deep have broken down; and it is therefore virtually impossible for anybody, in our time, to make a building live.

14.  To work our way towards a shared and living language once again, we must first learn how to discover patterns which are deep, and capable of generating life.

15.  We may then gradually improve these patterns whch we share, by testing them against experience:  we can determine, very simply, whether these patterns make our surroundings, live, or not, by recognizing how they make us feel.

16.  Once we have understood how to discover individual patterns which are alive, we may then make a language for ourselves for any building task we face.  The structure of the language is created by the network of connections among individual patterns  and the language lives, or not, as a totality, to the degree these patterns form a whole.

17.  Then finally, from separate languages for different building tasks, we can create a larger structure still, a structure of structures, evolving constantly, which is the common language for a town.  This is the gate.

THE WAY

Once we have built the gate, we can pass through it to the practice of the timeless way.

18.  Now we shall begin to see in detail how the rich and complex order of a town can grow from thousands of creative acts.  For once we have a common pattern language in our town, we shall all have the power to make our streets and buildings live, through our most ordinary acts.  The language, like a seed, is the genetic system which gives our millions of small sacts the power to form a whole.

19  Within this process, every individual act of building is a process in which space gets differentiated.  It is not a process of addition, in which preformed parts are combined to create a whole, but a process of unfolding, like the evolution of an embryo, in which the whole precedes the parts, and actually gives birth to them, by splitting.

20.  The process of unfolding goes step by step, one pattern at a time.  Each step brings just one pattern to life; and the intensity of the result depends on the intensity of each one of these individual steps.

21.  From a sequence of these individual patterns, whole buildings with the character of nature will form themselves within your thoughts, as easily as sentences.

22.  In the same way, groups of people can conceive their larger public buildings, on the ground, by following a common pattern language, almost as if they had a single mind.

23.  Once the buildings are conceived like this, they can be built, directly, from a few simple marks made in the ground - again within a common language, but directly, and without the use of drawings.

24.  Next, several acts of building, each one done to repair and magnify the product of the previous acts, will slowly generate a larger and more complex whole than any single act can generate.

25.  Finally, within the framework of a common language, millions of individual acts of building will together generate a town which is alive, and whole, and unpredictable, without control.  This is the slow emergence of the quality without a name, as if from nothing.

26.  And as the whole emerges, we shall see it take that ageless character which gives the timeless way its name.  This character is a specific, morphological character, sharp and precise, which must come into being any time a building or a town becomes alive:  it is the physical embodiment, in buildings, of the quality without a name. 

THE KERNEL OF THE WAY

And yet the timeless way is not complete, and will not fully generate the quality without a name, until we leave the gate behind. 

27.  Indeed this ageless character has nothing, in the end, to do with languages.  The language, and the processes which stem from it, merely release the fundamental order which is native to us  They do not teach us, they only remind us of what we know already, and of what we shall discover time and time again, when we give up our ideas and opinions, and do exactly what emerges from ourselves.

 

Well, transcribing that was a bit of a project, and I do apologize to those who have no interest in this subject.  I just couldn't find a more concise excerpt that would properly represent Alexander's work.  Having reviewed his work, as I typed, I am struck by the degree to which I have integrated "the way without a name" into my everyday designing.  When "refitting" my home for our new "homesteading" lifestyle, we have, indeed, allowed the new design to come out of the pattern of our activities, organically . . . and though there was no "master plan", and though decisions are made on-the-spot, we are quite pleased with the way it is unfolding with a character all its own.

When I look at Phillips' work in helping others to build their own homes from junk, I see that one of the things that makes the resultant spaces so appealing is that they have flowed out of the builders' own creativity and lives.  Phillips wisely guides, but leaves all of the decisions to the ultimate occupant of the home.  This, I believe is one reason that the final product  feels so right, so in harmony, and so protective and safe.  How much more likely the new owners will be to care for these homes, unlike the process of degradation that commences in public affordable housing projects, on the day they are occupied.

 

A sort of community that I believe has largely integrated Alexander's principles is Wattle Hollow . . . I haven't been there, but it was brought to my attention by The CM Poster Without a Name.  Although each structure is unique, the development (in the truest sense of the word) has an integrated, unified feel.

And now, saddened a bit by this brief hiatus for a sojourn into my former life, in which I had time for purely creative pursuits, I must return to the work at hand . . . .

 

-- Cloudfire

 

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
On Nurturing the Pocketbook, and the Soul . . .

One other comment, Yoshhash;

You mention your struggles with designing offsite, prior to commencement of building, and difficulty in finding an employer who values your skills and viewpoint  . . .  I would suggest that these are assets, not liabilities . . . Although I'm sure they make commencement more intimidating, you are being benevolently forced to tread your own path . . . The world is full of people who will follow others with vision . . . My husband, a private contractor, is one such individual . . . Give him a vision, and he can execute it expertly, and with flexibility.  But, give him a blank space, or worse, a blank sheet of paper, and he can't see how to proceed.  He requires someone, like yourself, to manifest his own creativity.  If you can find individuals like that, from which to build your business, I see no reason why you should not be able to both thrive and express your architectural vision.

FWIW

 

thatchmo's picture
thatchmo
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 14 2008
Posts: 432
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread

Cloudfire- on the tumbleweed houses, I'm pretty sure in most areas if it has wheels it is not taxable as a residence.  Of course once you start living in something- trailer, tent, car- some municipal bureaucrat will probable want a piece of you.  Although a nice comfy home of 80 sq. ft. would be a luxury to many, I wonder how much indoor space an "average" person requires to stay sane in the winter?  I guess the micro homes would demand that a person gets outside to revel in nature more often.....Aloha, Steve.

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 1813
Re: The Sustainable Architecture Thread
thatchmo wrote:

Cloudfire- on the tumbleweed houses, I'm pretty sure in most areas if it has wheels it is not taxable as a residence.  Of course once you start living in something- trailer, tent, car- some municipal bureaucrat will probable want a piece of you.  Although a nice comfy home of 80 sq. ft. would be a luxury to many, I wonder how much indoor space an "average" person requires to stay sane in the winter?  I guess the micro homes would demand that a person gets outside to revel in nature more often.....Aloha, Steve.

Hi, Steve;

I'm guessing you're a Hawaii resident, by your signature . . . Hubby and I have spent many months camping on Kauai, at a variety of locations, including Kokee, the various county beaches, Waimea Canyon, and along the Napali Coast.  As you may know, camping is allowed at many of the State Parks and county beaches.  Each beach has "break down day", when everybody has to take down their camps for 24 hours, to allow for maintenance.  It's not too much of a hassle for us, as we have a rental SUV to move to another camp.  But, for the homeless poor, it's a real pain.

The camping fee is miniscule, and only a minor inconvenience, if one is staying for just a few weeks. However, the rangers are a bugger about collecting their fees.  More than once, we've been woken up at 5 AM by Ranger Ray, because we either didn't have our permit displayed on the tent, or we had pulled in too late to pitch a tent, and were crashed in the car . . . . Despite the fact that we've not pitched our tent, Ray still considers us campers, and wants his six bucks, thank you very much  . .  . That's only an amusing distraction for us, as the situation is quite temporary, and really just a novel diversion. . . but I wonder what the legalities would be for some of the homeless poor on Kauai, if they had a "tumbleweed home". 

On Kauai, 80 square feet would be more than enough space, as it's tough to stay indoors there anyway, except in the rainy season . . . . We camp on Kauai because we find outdoor living far preferable to staying in a "box" that separates us from the dawn, the sunset, and the sound of the surf.  At this point, you couldn't pay us to stay in a hotel there, no matter how luxurious.  In the past, we have stayed briefly at the most luxurious hotels there, and found nothing memorable about the experiences, relative to the vivid memories we have of hiking the back country.  And, with showers at nearly every beach, and Hawaii's eminently amenable weather, there are few reasons to go inside . . .  ever.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments