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Art of Natural Building Paperback – 24 Jul 2014

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers; Revised edition edition (24 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865717710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865717718
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 3 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,126,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Joseph F. Kennedy studied earth building with architect Nader Khalili and helped him found CalEarth in 1991. He promotes earth and other natural building methods as a teacher, designer and builder. He is co-editor of The Art of Natural Building and Building Without Borders. Joseph currently teaches at the New School of Architecture and Design in San Diego, California. Michael G. Smith helped found The Cob Cottage Company in 1993. He has taught hundreds of hands-on workshops in cob, strawbale, natural floors and plasters, earthen ovens, and many other natural building techniques. He is the author of The Cobber's Companion and co-author of The Hand-Sculpted House. Michael has designed and built nearly fifty small cob and hybrid natural homes. He enjoys sharing his expertise with owner-builders around the world. Catherine Wanek is a cofounder of Builders Without Borders. A passionate advocate of natural building techniques for over two decades, she is the author and photographer of The Hybrid House and The New Straw Bale Home, and co-editor of The Art of Natural Building. She also produced the videos, The Strawbale Solution, the Building With Straw video series, and Urban Permaculture. Catherine is the owner of the Black Range Lodge, an historic bed-and-breakfast inn located in the mountains of southwest New Mexico, which is becoming known as a center for ecological building and healthy living.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Three stars is a bit harsh. This is a terriffic introduction to natural building, with hundreds of example buildings with well presented technical detail and photographs. I think this an excellent reference for those wishing to introduce themselves to many techniques of "natural building".
After so much effort has obviously been put into illustrating this book, I cannot understand why it has been printed in black and white. Virtually every page has excellent photographs and diagrams, but with the exception of a couple of token colour pages, all the photographs are a disappointing monochrome grey. I hope this book will be re-published with full colour illustration, and then someone will give it the five stars that it deserves.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9181f6f0) out of 5 stars 23 reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x916a37b0) out of 5 stars An easy to read "encyclopedia" of sensible building. 1 July 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I liked the way this subject was presented. First--why are these building methods sound, ie, the philosophy of using natural materials. Then, the many illustrations with informative descriptions at each one. Almost like reading the captions in National Geographic. The very large variety of methods and materials described in well-written essays by obvious experts in their field, each followed by references to books and periodicals that would deal with that particular subject in even more depth. Each section arranged in a natural progression of ideas. The general tone exudes a warmth and respect for people and our earth.. Thoroughly "good" reading.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91c4787c) out of 5 stars A very Good taste. 12 Jun. 2003
By Scott Knudsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book gives you a very good taste of all the natural alternative building techniques, and also where to find out more information on them. This is an excellent book for you to start researching all the different alternative building techniques or if your already well read on the subject it may introduce you to some new techniques or be a good refresher on the subject.
100 of 121 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92eaaeb8) out of 5 stars Stylishly Ethical Living 13 July 2002
By J.W.K - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Today, around 5 million people on Earth work and live in buildings made of adobe, stone, rammed earth, straw bale, cob, wattle and daub and so forth. That is, most of our planetary brothers and sisters live in earthen houses that rely on renewable human labor and local resources like mud, straw, rock and tree. These houses are less energy intensive, more durable, and are often more esthetically pleasing than so-called "modern" homes, as this book shows.
"The Art of Natural Building" questions the environmental responsibility of a 5,000-sq-foot, 500,000-dollar house. As more and more people begin to make the kind of money it takes to buy their own American Dream house, we must question the feasibility our of contemporary building practices. Would it be possible cover the globe with modern homes? Building companies certainly think so, but aside from what a project of this immensity what mean environmentally, the resources are simply not available.
There is simply not enough lumber, brick, cement, and processed material to go around. Our building industry would gladly sell us into oblivion if it meant a buck or two in the short-haul, but we need to get away from this kind of thinking. We also need to consider the environmental impacts of our current practices. What are these impacts?
As this book reminds us, buildings already account for one quarter of the world's wood harvest, two-fifths of its material and energy use, and one-six of its fresh water usage. In the past 100 years the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen 27 percent, one-quarter of which has come the burning of fossil fuels just to provide energy for buildings. During the same period, the world lost more than 20 percent of its forest. Quite simply, our building philosophy is not sustainable; and with a populaiton of 6 billion rising at an incredible rate every year, reconstruction of this philosophy becomes all the more timely and important.
We can start by dropping out of the rat race and getting our hands dirty. Natural building is much more affordable, durable, environmentally responsible and estheticly pleasing than the track homes and skyscrapers advancing on the horizon. We can also avoid the loan-mortgage game which weds us to unfulfilling job and Sisyphus-like existence. We can create spaces that are non-toxic, unique, and ecologically sound. And perhaps most importantly, we can reconnect with Earth and the spirit of artisanship.
Along with the philosophy, you will discover a veritable treasure trove of natural building styles and ideas, from the radically new and innovative - like concept "earthship" - to the ancient and elegant, such as the living roof pictured on the cover. Architects need not apply, nor must you be good with your hands to fashion your own natural house. I consider myself very fortunate to have seen this book before investing in a home of my own. Like many people, I might have ended up working the rest of my life to pay for "a house without a clue."
By far and away, this is one of the most important books I have ever read. Philosophers dabble with theories of justice, beauty and truth, but with this book you will discover how all of these ideas can be BUILT into the very structure and fabric of your life. You will discover the ethics and aesthetics of building design and ecological living.
Filled to the brim with great references, links and some amazing photographs to stimulate your right brain, "The Art of Natural Building" is a must for anybody interested in saving the planet and saving a little money at the same time. The ultimate ecological building encyclopedia! A must read for all dwelling creatures.
171 of 210 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91828534) out of 5 stars Slightly delusional 17 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting book. It's mostly not about natural building, but rather a book about alternative wall building. Of the four major parts of a house - foundation, floors, walls, roof - this is an awful lot of information about walls, and very little else. Foundations covered in a few cursory pages, almost nothing on roofs, and nothing on floors at all, except for ground level earthen floors.
There is less world-saving going on than meets the eye. Almost all the bad stuff whether large amounts of timber, or reviled composites is in the roofs, floors, and foundations. When it comes to having wildflowers as part of the roof, they even embrace some pretty nasty membrane products.
There is also a fair amount of self-delusion going on. In the section on timber frames the author mentions the savings to be had by timber framed walls vs. stud walls, but makes no mention of the unsustainable old growth used in timber frames. Nor does he mention that the infill to timber frames is either the same studwalls he claimed to avoid using, or highly toxic SIPs. in total most timber buildings are built twice once for the frame, and enough infill material to again carry all structural loads. The same comments can be made about straw bale, cordwood and so forth, often as much wood is used avoiding studs as using them.
Natural building is completely unlikely to make an ounce of green difference in the West. It mainly won't be used, and where it is, it will just be another trophy home "look". Still it's all great stuff for dreamers, and the odd few who will actually build their own little earthship.
Because of all the authors contributing, the standard of information is highly inconsistent, but in the main good. Do we really need to read after 200 pages a section on timber framing that starts from theoretical constructs like what is architecture and engineering, and works on to maters even more obscure? Nonetheless, there is solid information throughout the book.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91d6ff18) out of 5 stars The Art of Natural Building book review 25 Feb. 2007
By Mist Raven - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A great introduction into Natural Building. It portrays different styles of natural building; Straw Bale, cob, Adobe, cordwood, earth bags, compressed earth bags, stone, timber, wattle and daub, earthbag and paper crete. There is also a section on earthships. The book also talks about designing a healthy Natural House. A great book that anyone interested in building Green would like.
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