Sunday, October 25, 2015

Living Structures

(1) Link to "Living Structures" online PDF.
(2) Link to a short Ken Isaacs documentary:

Dwell Design Leaders: Ken Isaacs from Gowanus Sound Initiative on Vimeo.

Post-Script: If you take a look at the online PDF of the book at the link provided above (and now in the public domain), take note of the way Isaacs structures his writings, in terms of paragraph formatting. I like that he has provided a bolded, underlined header for each paragraph, that functions as a summary of the content to follow; as if the content of his writings was also structured in a modular fashion similar to his architecture. The body of each paragraph is quaintly lacking capitals, in that funky, 1960s poetic style. Also, the style of the book's font seems to be very similar to typewritten. Speaking of which, if you click over to pages 28 & 29, note the typewriter in his indoor living structure, which appears to be a Hermes Rocket or Baby.

Though Living Structures gave a wealth of practical advice to the would-be constructor, it retained its experimental nature; which I find unique and fascinating. One can but wonder what advances could be made to the concept given today's on-demand, 3D-printing technology.

After rereading the book last night, I was immediately reminded of the experimental architecture movement that today reuses metal shipping containers as building-blocks for functional structures, a consequence of the nature of global manufacturing and shipping, where used shipping containers cost more to ship back to Asia than the material is worth. There is one such retail site being developed with the use of such shipping containers, here in Albuquerque.

There's a decided idealism to these high-concept notions of Living Structures, inflatable buildings or geodesic domes, that seems to ignore practical realities and their intrinsic drawbacks; realities that I, as a young man, purposefully ignored. One such problem is building a nonstandard-design dwelling in a tract-home subdivision in the midst of suburbia, given the realities of building codes that are often "gamed" by officials and lobbyists from the construction industries to conform to certain expectations of normalcy; or what will the neighbors say with my stack of metal boxes? Alas, Isaacs was only able to dabble with his larger Living Structures because he had inherited a bit of land in rural Illinois, which gets back to that old bit about land ownership affording a person a certain quantity of freedom; which begs the question of how can these concepts be successfully implemented in the context of urban, condensed environments?

Top photo via Lumix G5, in the Man Cave shed. Typecast via Olivetti Lettera 22.


Blogger Bill M said...

Neat book. He's even got room for a typewriter and a place to type.
I've always been interested in the unusual, and these structures would be something I'd like to build given the time and place. I often thought of just a small house in the woods.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Interesting! I just recently read a book by Michael Reynolds called "Earthship II", detailing the construction and theory of an exceedingly eco-friendly home made of beer cans and cement. It would be nice to own the kind of land that would allow building one's own home to suit.

6:15 PM  

Post a Comment

Have a comment? I'll post your comment after I read it.


Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home