Posts by Lew Lewandowski (115)

Natural Buildings: Photographs by Catherine Wanek

A natural building


Since discovering straw bale construction in 1992, Catherine Wanek has traveled widely to spread the straw bale gospel, and documenting traditional and modern examples of natural building. She co-edited The Art of Natural Building in 2002, wrote and photographed The New Strawbale Home in 2003, and wrote The Hybrid House in 2010. Her photos are featured in Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter.

Shown above, Thierry Dronet built this fairy-tale hybrid of straw bales and cordwood masonry, topped with a “living roof,” as his workshop and stable for two horses in eastern France. Bale walls act to retain the hillside, with a plastic sheet barrier and a “French drain” to wick away moisture. Time will tell whether this practice is advised.
Read More …

Post a comment (1 comment)

The Wooden Yurts of Bill Coperthwaite

Yurt by Bill Coperthwaite

Bill Coperthwaite was a master yurt-builder/​designer who was featured in Home Work. He died in 2013. Here is a selection of several of his wooden yurts.

The photo above and the two photos immediately below were Bill’s home in the Maine woods. It is 54 feet in diameter and was designed so it could be built over a period of several years and still provide shelter during the process. It is a tri-centric, or three-ring yurt with 2700 sq. ft. of floor space. You can first build the 16 ft. inner core as a room to move into. In the second stage, you can build the large sheltering roof over a gravel pad, allowing the major cost, floor construction, to be delayed. In the meantime you have a spacious area under roof that can be used for a workshop, greenhouse, garage, or for play.

wooden yurt wooden yurt

Read More …

Post a comment (1 comment)

Logtagon: Scribe-Fit Log Building


Hi Folks,

Before I knew of all your books I built the attached … thought it might interest you … Thanks for all the inspirational books!

Henry Fosbrooke

We have been involved with the construction and design of a number of timber structures for the past 10 years.

Trying to build with trees and timber grown locally and using scribe-fit log building and timber framing techniques, you can see some of the buildings that have been created.
Read More …

Post a comment

Location, Location, Location

A tiny 180-square-foot shack for just under $2 million: location!

  • A tiny 180-square-foot shack is being sold for just under $2 million in Palo Alto, California — minutes away from Stanford and Facebook’s headquarters.
  • The one-bedroom, one-bathroom abode was built in 1930 and has no kitchen appliances.
  • The listing states it’s an “exciting opportunity” for a dream home to built.

Read more:…

Post a comment (4 comments)

Treehouse in a Japanese Cypress

by Kirsten Dirksen

When builder/craftsman Yuichi Takeuchi was asked by a friend to build a treehouse as a second residence in Fujiyoshida — an area near the base of Mount Fuji and popular for vacation residences — Takeuchi set to work searching the trees and looking for a place to rent.

He finally found a friend who was willing to lease some land (for a decade) in the backyard of his woodworking workshop. Takeuchi then invited friends/coworkers to camp out with him and brainstorm at the site. “I’m not a professional architect … I don’t really design things I just enjoy what’s happening next. And this was designed by many of us just staying in this little house [the workshop floor] and sleep together, eat together and drink together and just keep talking about design and how we want so this was happening on the location.”

Together Takeuchi and friends of Tree Heads & Co. began constructing a tiny cabin (“about 4-and-a-half tatami mats”) perched 20 feet high on two young trees. It’s constructed from Japanese cypress, mostly from trees felled by Takeuchi within a couple miles of the property.

The tiny elevated home is furnished with just a carpet — the part-time residents roll out sleeping bags at night — and a kitchen of rice cooker and camping stove.

Tree Heads & Co:

Original story:…

Post a comment

Lisa's Pole Barn House


The pole barn house makes a great small home, guest house, cabin or cottage. It’s simple shape makes it easy to build! It’s 1,085 square feet and features:

  • 2 bedrooms
  • 1 bath
  • storage/sleeping loft
  • modern design
  • shed roof
  • high ceilings
  • radiant in floor heat
  • pole building construction
  • passive solar
  • abundant windows
  • some universal design principles

10136377_f520Holes 1-2′ in diameter were dug 4′ in the ground below the frost line. 1′ of cement was poured in the bottom of the holes and posts were placed on top of the cement. The holes were then back-filled. The cement pads distribute the weight from the load on the post.
Read More …

Post a comment (7 comments)

Malawi Vernacular Architecture — 4700 Photos!

Screen shot 2015-09-17 at 12.41.46 PM

From Lloyd’s Blog:

I am a registered architect with a passion for African vernacular architecture. I wish to connect with others with similar interests to preserve African vernacular architecture before it vanishes. The overall goal is a database, which currently does not exist online for most African countries.

Malawi Vernacular Architecture

Post a comment

Cabins: The New American Dream

Cabins: The New American Dream, an article from The New York Times, examines possible reasons for the popularity of Tiny House Movement.

The Hero’s Journey on a shoestring — that is the classic tiny living narrative. After finding a patch of weedy acreage, the protagonists (they usually come in pairs) buckle down for a stint of hard labor in the hot sun. They often use recycled or salvaged materials to fashion their retreat. This not only helps the planet heal, it heals the spirits of the builders, who are happier, better, stronger people when their rescued-from-scrap front door is finally hung. The construction supplies and furnishings are invariably as low in cost as the ideals of the builders are high. And yet, for some the trend has nothing to do with traditional thrift; instead, it answers a hunger for Zen purity and quasi-monastic simplicity.

Post a comment (2 comments)

The Terrapin Trailer

terrapin trailer

Peter Pavlowich’s Casual Turtle Campers were featured in Tiny Homes on the Move (pp. 26–27).

Shelter guys,

Hey I thought I’d pass along a few shots of the another recent build. This one was for a gentleman here in Colorado — the model I call the Terrapin. We went with a pretty full interior arrangement on this one. He opted for no painted surfaces (which I usually do), so we incorporated several different species on the cabin’s interior — oak, birch, cedar, and beetle-killed ponderosa pine — so it wasn’t a one-tone wood overload. It weighed in at 1,300 lbs, max headroom around 5′9″, and it goes down the highway just great.
Read More …

Post a comment