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Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter Paperback – April 20, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Shelter Publications (April 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0936070331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0936070339
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I started building almost 50 years ago, and have lived in a self-built home ever since. If I'd been able to buy a wonderful old good-feeling house, I might have never started building. But it was always cheaper to build than to buy, and by build-ing myself, I could design what I wanted and use materials I wanted to live with.

I set off to learn the art of building in 1960. I liked the whole process immensely. Hammering nails. Framing -- delineating space. Nailing down the sub-floor, the roof decking. It's a thrill when you first step on the floor you've just created.

Ideally I'd have worked with a master carpenter long enough to learn the basics, but there was never time. I learned from friends and books and by blundering my way into a process that required a certain amount of competence. My perspective was that of a novice, a homeowner -- rather than a pro. As I learned, I felt that I could tell others how to build, or at least get them started on the path to creating their own homes.

Through the years I've personally gone from post and beam to geodesic domes to stud frame construction. It's been a constant learning process, and this has led me into investigating many methods of construction -- I'm interested in them all. For five years, the late '60s to early '70s, I built geodesic domes. I got into being a publisher by producing Domebook One in 1970 and Domebook 2 in 1971.

I then gave up on domes (as homes) and published our namesake Shelter in 1973. We've published books on a variety of subjects over the years, and returned to our roots with Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter in 2004, The Barefoot Architect in 2008, Builders of the Pacific Coast in 2008, and Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter in 2012.

Building is my favorite subject. Even in this day and age, building a house with your own hands can save you a ton of money (I've never had a mortgage) and -- if you follow it through -- you can get what you want in a home.

Customer Reviews

Thank you Lloyd Kahn for such a wonderful trip!
Kelly Hart
There are things in this book that are guaranteed to inspire you to do something weird just because they are so interesting looking.
Glenn R. Kangiser
This book is for anyone who has a passion for architecture, and culture. a great coffee table book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Hart on December 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
After years of waiting, I finally held a copy of Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter by Lloyd Kahn in my hands. I have rarely been this enthusiastic about a book, and not just because I am in it!

Ever since his first publication of Shelter in 1973 (which I also contributed to), Lloyd has been collecting imagery and stories for this eventual sequel. Shelter, a black and white over-sized catalog of unusual building, has become legendary as a book of inspiration for several generations of free-spirited home builders. The fact that it is still in print after 30 years attests to the durability of its significance. This seminal book heralded the emergence of geodesic domes and strawbale homes, as well as the influence of vernacular building styles from around the world on North American architecture.

With Home Work, Lloyd has gone beyond the glory of his earlier work in many ways. Not only does it seem more comprehensive, but it is almost entirely in color. This is a sumptuous coffee table book that will likely not spend much time on the table, since it is so intriguing you just want to pick up and browse through it. Every page is chock full of fun, unusual, lyrical, quaint, artistic, humble, elegant, practical, colorful, whimsical, well-crafted, funky, traditional, and outlandish buildings that were lovingly built by the hands of those who reside there. All of this is presented with Lloyd's casual style of layout and commentary that is reminiscent of a scrap book. Many of the photos are actually collages of several exposures spliced together to create expansive murals.

Flipping through the pages of Home Work will take you back to the early day of hippie huts and forward to the cutting edge of natural building technology.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Jackson Landers on December 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the best book of it's type that I have encountered. There are a lot of people out there building interesting structures with their own hands in their own way. For those who either are doing this or aspire to it, there isn't much out there in the way of books or cheerleading.

'Home Work' focuses largely on interesting homes built by baby-boomers who may or may not call themselves hippies, but are generally coming out of the 'back to the land' movement of the 60's and 70's that is generally associated with that subculture. This may or may not have been intentional on the part of the author. There is also a heavy West-coast bias at work. Every builder profiled seems to have a sauna & a beard and I could swear there's a pot plant in the foreground of one of the photos.

Honestly the stuff that the hippies started building 30 years ago is probably the cream of the 'interesting' owner-built homes in America. They had the will to build on their own, the low budgets that force creativity and building codes in rural areas were not quite so common as they are today. The timing was just right. Lloyd Kahn has found some of the coolest buildings that resulted from that hiccup of pioneering in the modern era, photographed them beautifully and humanized the builders.

Kahn takes time out half way through the book to celebrate simply-built structures and the joy of encountering them by presenting a series of photgraphic essays documenting his travels through regions thick with soulful buildings. Do you find yourself slowing down when you drive past solemn timber-framed barns or ramshackle sheds? Lloyd Kahn understands you. He has thoughtfully provided a number of pages of 'barn porn' for the junkies among us.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By shyhobbit on March 18, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, this book has everything in it a person could want. 'Cept maybe a hobbit dwelling. Of course, there's so much imagination and so many ideas, that it wouldn't take much to come up with a very comfy hobbit hole. Now instead of just retiring, I'm dreaming of coming up with something unique that I can work on after I retire. And somehow I find myself coming back to this book for more and more ideas.... this book's dangerous!!!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Donovan, Editor/Sr. Reviewer on March 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
HOME WORK: HANDBUILT SHELTER represents over thirty years of gathering photos and details about builders around the world; so don't expect a hasty compilation of alternate design here. It represents the sequel to Kahn's best-selling SHELTER, published in 1973, and packs in over a thousand photos and over 300 drawings illustrating hand-made buildings ranging from a Japanese stilt house accessible only by cable across a river to an African stone house. The survey of unique hand-built homes around the world is a joy to behind, contrasting a diversity in design and presentation which comes not from the professional architect's casebook but, many times, from the amateur builders themselves. Very highly recommended for any collection strong in builder's books and design idea books - or even international travel and cultures.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Buchanan on March 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Homework: Handbuilt Shelter offers an unparalleled survey of handbuilt homes, with full color photos and engaging text. Don't be fooled by the badly designed cover - the inside is really beautiful. I have given this book as a gift to 3 different people, of varying ages and interests. It is one of the more popular gifts that I've given. I think because the information is so dense, with actual dimensions and how-to advice, and yet it still reads comfortably, almost like a magazine. Plus the reader can skip around to parts that interest them. I wish there were a hardcover version, because my copy is well-worn.
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