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Re: GSBN:ISBBC 004
- To: "GSBN" GSBN@...
- Subject: Re: GSBN:ISBBC 004
- From: Paul Lacinski paul@...
- Date: Sun, 2 Nov 2003 10:46:03 +0800
- Reply-to: "GSBN" GSBN@...
- Sender: "GSBN" GSBN@...
First off, thank you for and congratulations on your work so far on
the 04 event. I sorely regretted missing the Australia conference,
and I hope not to make that mistake again.
1- You included no dates, which leads me to assume you haven't
decided yet. Is there a particlar month that you are leaning toward?
2- I have been thinking for some time about the link between the
natural building movement and the preservation movement. Whenever I
attend a preservation training on some technique (lime plaster, let's
say) I always find that these people, with their well developed sense
of both history and materials, feel a strong affinity for what we are
doing. It is philosophically similar to how people built before
"better living through chemistry"- we are attempting to make high
quality buildings from relatively elemental materials. By looking at
old buildings I have received a valuable education in design and
construction details that have been tested by time, and by taking
occasional preservation courses I have learned how to use some
materials well. (You aren't going to find classes on lime plaster at
Home Despot, eh?)
Preservationists also have things to learn from us- the massive
amount of experimentation going on in the natural building world is
in part a reaching back- to rediscover lost materials and techniques.
And preservationists are notoriously foolish when it comes to issues
like insulation, etc- historically accurate doors that don't come
close to sealing, or thinking that if a cavity wall were not
insulated at the outset, it shouldn't be now. I see this as a mild
insult to the intelligence of the original bulders- they'd have used
an appropriate insulation if they had thought of it, or had the right
materials at hand.
But this is just quasi-technical stuff. What I'm really interested
in is that preservation, over the last 30 years in much of the
developed world, has been an enormously successful movement. (Not so
in the developing world- I can't tell you how painful it is to see
400 year old brick or stone buildings (and the exquisitely human
spaces between them) being demolished en masse in Beijing, to make
way for the glass anywhere that will announce to the world, via the
2008 Olympics, that China is now a modern country.) The success of
preservation in the West is partly because people enjoy a physical
connection to their history, and partly because many of the buildings
conserved have been grand. But I am sure that it is also because,
after a generation or two, people realized that chemistry might be
useful for more practical living, but that "better" is much harder to
define. And old buildings (and here we can add new, natural
buildings) have a feel and beauty and timelessness and life to them
that you don't find in the developer's model home.
OK, sorry about the position paper. The point is that you must have
alot of great old buildings, large and small, wood, masonry, and
otherwise, within a reasonable distance of this conference site.
(Those seaweed roofs come to mind!) I think a tour of historical
buildings would be splendid, as would some conference sessions
describing in detail how they were designed and built. In my
idealized world you would find a preservation group who was willing
to organize that part of things, and that would be useful for future
working relationships. Leading, of course, to new natural buildings
which become, in the slow, sweet flow of time, candidates for
Thanks again, and also in advance, for all your work on this!
PO Box 107
463 Mail Street
Ashfield, MA 01330 USA