We’ve been huge fans of author Lloyd Khan ever since reading his seminal book Shelter. For many years Khan has traveled the world chronicling indigenous and extreme DIY architecture. He has an eye for buildings that have a sense of place and a connection with nature. Reading and viewing the photos in his books you’ll pick up both practical ideas and daydream of fantastical structures at once spiritual and playful.

Like the Whole Earth Catalog, Shelter’s wide ranging and inclusive topics anticipated the non-hierarchical structure of the Internet. On one page you’re looking at Turkish rock houses, and on another geodesic domes built out of scrap materials. The lessons I’ve learned from Khan’s work are the importance of context (site, cultural, weather etc.) and the joy of putting hammer to nail to build something yourself even if you don’t know what the hell you are doing. Sometimes the most ramshackled comedies of architectural errors evolve into home. But Kahn’s encyclopedic work also celebrates craft, with many examples of builders who gathered their knowledge through many years of experience.

I go through Shelter all the time for inspiration and was thrilled to find out that Kahn has a blog (and made a nice mention of us). Some recent posts include a 12′ diameter satellite dish made into a roof and the world’s most efficient school bus.

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  1. Excellent,
    Thanks for the reminder on Shelter. I think I bought that right when it came out in Cody’s in Berkeley. I love that book, alas it has lived in a box in a pile of boxes in a closet full of boxes since probably 2001. I must refind it. Thanks for the pointer to his blog.

  2. Eric, Kelly,
    Thx!~ If you send address, will send you 2 more recent bldg. books, HomeWork, and Builders of the Pacific Coast.
    Just sent LA Times article on you guys to editor at Mother Earth News.

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