Catalogue


Built by hand : vernacular buildings around the world /
written by Athena Steen, Bill Steen, and Eiko Komatsu ; photographs by Yoshio Komatsu.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
Layton, Utah : Gibbs Smith, c2003.
description
469 p. : chiefly col. ill.
ISBN
158685237X
format(s)
Book
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
Leaving modern architecture and its conventions far behind, Japanese photographer Yoshio Komatsu and his wife, Eiko, have traveled to some of the remotest regions on earth, compiling a stunning photographic collection of what are commonly referred to as traditional, vernacular, or indigenous buildings. Their pictures tell the story of a disappearing world of buildings that have been constructed by ordinary people who, as builders and homesteaders, have given artistic, modest, and sensible form to their daily needs and dreams. Sometimes accidental, often asymmetrical, and utilizing materials that are naturally close at hand, these buildings, with their molded curves and softened lines, convey a personal and human beauty. Quietly and almost without notice, they outwit the might of modern machinery with simple tools and materials that welcome, encourage, and amplify use of the human hand. They remind us that beauty and usefulness can come from simple things, and sometimes in ways not thought possible in today's modern consumer world.
Flap Copy
This stunning and truly amazing collection of photographs by Japanese photographer Yoshio Komatsu celebrates traditional/vernacular architecture around the world. Komatsu's photographs tell the story of a disappearing world of buildings that have been constructed by ordinary people who, as builders and homesteaders, have given artistic, modest and sensible form to their daily needs and dreams. Sometimes accidental, often asymmetrical, and utilizing materials that are naturally close at hand, these buildings with their molded curves and softened lines convey a beauty that is both personal and human. Quietly and almost without notice, they outwit the might of modern machinery with simple tools and materials that welcome, encourage and amplify use of the human hand. Shelter the Human Family is a celebration of what is so uniquely diverse and yet similar in the buildings of different cultures around the world. Beginning with the most basic ways that human beings have sought shelter-beneath the trees and stars, under the protection of a rock cliff or cave-this book traces the transformation of materials such as earth, stone, wood or bamboo into shelters that are both stationary and moveable. The final chapter takes a look at the need for a modern vernacular. Not the type that seeks to duplicate and imitate the examples in this book, but rather one that is inspired by finding a responsive and sensitive balance between the know-how and wisdom of the past with that which is sustainable and modern. The text is a combined effort of Yoshio's wife Eiko, who is his regular travel/work partner, and Athena and Bill Steen.
First Chapter
Leaving modern architecture and its conventions far behind, Japanese photographer Yoshio Komatsu and his wife, Eiko, have traveled to some of the remotest regions on earth, compiling a stunning photographic collection of what are commonly referred to as traditional, vernacular, or indigenous buildings. Their pictures tell the story of a disappearing world of buildings that have been constructed by ordinary people who, as builders and homesteaders, have given artistic, modest, and sensible form to their daily needs and dreams. Sometimes accidental, often asymmetrical, and utilizing materials that are naturally close at hand, these buildings, with their molded curves and softened lines, convey a personal and human beauty. Quietly and almost without notice, they outwit the might of modern machinery with simple tools and materials that welcome, encourage, and amplify use of the human hand. They remind us that beauty and usefulness can come from simple things, and sometimes in ways not thought possible in today's modern consumer world.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2003-10-20:
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" x 9" format, the book takes readers to Ethiopia, Iran, Japan, Spain, Venezuela and many other places. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-12-01:
Japanese photographer Komatsu, assisted by his wife, Eiko, has spent many years traveling and documenting homes and other structures made in traditional ways-from multistory earthen houses in Yemen to thatched villages in the Philippines. The result is a colorful, visually hypnotic compilation of detailed exterior and interior images. Athena and Bill Steen (The Straw Bale House) contribute an introduction and short commentaries for each section. Early chapters cover the various techniques and materials, including earth, clay, or mud molded, rammed, daubed, plastered, or made into blocks; stone cobbles or blocks fitted together or mortared; bamboo, reeds, thatch, and palm leaves; wood poles, plank construction, and shingles; and antiseptic lime coatings. Later chapters illustrate homes that float or are carved into the earth, as well as streets, entryways, windows, and embellishments. The book ends rather abruptly without a concluding chapter. Some readers, however, will come away with insights about potential modern applications. All readers should gain renewed respect for human ingenuity after seeing so many unforgettable images of people proudly showing off their humble homes, granaries, and even places of worship that they built themselves. Recommended for all public libraries.-Anne Marie Lane, Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
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.
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.
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, October 2003
Library Journal, December 2003
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This 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.
Long Description
Built by Hand 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. Built by Hand 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. The text is a combined effort of Yoshio's wife Eiko, who is his regular travel/work partner, and Athena and Bill Steen.
Main Description
Built by Hand is a celebration of what is so uniquely diverse and yet similar in the buildings of different cultures around the world. Beginning with the most basic ways that human beings have sought shelter-beneath the trees and stars, under the protection of a rock cliff or cave-this book traces the transformation of materials such as earth, stone, wood or bamboo into shelters that are both stationary and moveable.
Main Description
Shelter the Human Family is the most extensive documentation ever publishedf traditional ("vernacular") buildings throughout the world. With examplesrom nearly every continent, the book documents the diverse methods peopleave used to create shelter from locally available natural materials, andhows the impressively handmade finished products through this truly stunningompilation of photographs. Unlike modern buildings that rely on industriallyroduced materials and highly specialized electric tools and techniques, thehelters featured here represent a rapidly disappearing genre of handcraftednd beautifully composed structures. They are the work of simple and realeople who, as builders and homesteaders, have integrated artistic beauty andractical form into their shelter needs. Shelter the Human Family offersnsights into the world of vernacular building, along with potentialolutions to many of the problems that plague modern architecture.;It is aust-have collection that preserves and documents the rich cultural past ofach structure and its community, and offers inspiration for those looking to
Table of Contents
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Earth Stone Wood Bamboo, Grasses and Other Plants
Thatch Materials
Combined Into the Earth On the Water On the Move
Natural Conditioning
Grain Storage and Birds
Communities, Villages and Towns
Places of Worship Streets
Entryways
Windows
Sculpted Details
Embellishment
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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