Handmade Houses takes us on a delightful journey back to the heady and rebellious days of the 1960s and ’70s, when green design—the world of reduce, reuse, and recycle—was sired. Its author, Richard Olsen, is a West Coast architectural writer and editor; he is also the grandson and great-grandson of Norwegian carpenters.
This tale is a lot more than hippies and hot tubs, however. Olsen provides a thorough history of the owner-built, woodbutcher movement from places like Big Sur, California, and Prickly Mountain, Vermont. And he addresses the sources of handcraft construction: Buddhist architecture of Japan, Norwegians cabins, Sea Ranch in California, Gaudi, Maybeck, and Jung, to name a few). Works from Europe and Australia provide an international context.