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I love this little Henry Yorke Mann house
by Katy Purviance on 03/19/10 @ 06:02:21 pm
Categories: I love this building | 527 words | 2887 views

Kathy recently wrote to tell me about her rammed earth houses.

I really like the idea of architecture “vacations”

I live near the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos, BC and besides that structure I can think of three houses (one mine) and three other non-dwelling type rammed earth structures. I bet that could make an interesting architectural tour especially for those that enjoy wine tasting.

Have you heard of Henry Yorke Mann? He lives up the hill from me and though he has designed no earth structures, his houses, which are scattered around the valley, are very interesting as well.

I loved your portfolio, I found the work you did for the underground greenhouse guy most edifying.

One of these old days I am going to have some rammed earth wall workshops and when I do I will let you know.

(I put Kathy’s rammed earth blogs just under this post, past the ad for making your own energy at home, where it reads “other blogs i like". CHECK IT OUT!)

Anyway, I hadn’t heard of Henry Yorke Mann until Kathy told me about him. And then, just today, I was reading through my subscriber print copy of Natural Home magazine when what do you know? There was an article by editor Robyn Griggs Lawrence about a little house called Quietude designed by none other than Henry Yorke Mann himself. Small world.

Denise Franklin needed a healing place. She’d been through a major illness (more than 20 years earlier doctors had told her she had six months to live) and had walked away from a house and husband. She yearned for “a place to pray, meditate, prepare my food and entertain my friends, and a warm place to lay my head at night.”

Denise had $28,000 to spend. She knew it might be an impossible dream. But she also believed in magic.

Finding a design shaman
In 1999, Denise secured a long-term lease on a half-acre plot in the Okanagan mountains near Oliver, British Columbia. Set atop a wooded knob, her land was perfect for growing herbs and vegetables and offered kaleidoscopic views of the Okanagan and Similkameen mountain ranges. All she needed was a design wizard to make her mountain cottage a reality. “When building a dwelling of any size, it’s wise to seek out a professional in the field, a good architect who will listen to your needs, wants and, at times, your impossible dreams,” Denise says. “This is particularly true when you go to him with a total sum of $28,000 in savings, a disability pension and no other means of financial aid.”

Architect Henry Yorke Mann is something of a wizard. The grandson of a master builder, Mann has been designing and building houses in British Columbia since 1962. His homes are built to enhance the human soul; he deems any house that doesn’t a failure. Mann describes the architect, at his best, as a shaman producing sacred works. “Even with an extreme budget, it’s possible to build an environmentally sound home that enhances the joy, life and soul of humans,” he says.

For Denise, he did just that.

Read the whole thing!

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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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