June 5, 2010 1:41 am

Handmade Houses and Other Buildings

Handmade Houses and Other Buildings, by John May, Thames & Hudson, RRP£14.95

It was a jolt to learn that most people in the world (roughly 80 per cent) live in self-built homes. And, if ever there was a case against the rush to concrete urban jungles, this captivating book makes it in the most charming way.

 

As the world’s population edges towards a predicted 9bn in 2040 it seems vital that the knowledge and skills involved in vernacular building should be preserved and utilised – not least because such homes are highly practical, energy efficient and landscape friendly, as a foreword by vernacular architecture specialist Anthony Reid observes.

This 192-page compact hardback kicks off with a photo gallery of local materials (including snow) that profoundly connect indigenous builders with their environment and communities.

May then escorts us on a global tour of vernacular styles including Yemen tower houses, Russian izby, Trulli stone houses, Samoan fales, Marsh Arab reed-houses, Japanese minka and English cob houses – each delightfully illustrated with line drawings and captions highlighting key features.

Human-scale architecture is here in spades, perhaps inspiring some readers to build their own hand-made houses and the rest of us to dream of doing so.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

LIFE AND ARTS ON TWITTER

More FT Twitter accounts
SHARE THIS QUOTE