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.