The Alternative Building Sourcebook : Traditional, Natural and Sustainable Building Products and Services

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9781889269016: The Alternative Building Sourcebook : Traditional, Natural and Sustainable Building Products and Services

A comprehensive Sourcebook containing over 900 individual listings of building products and services. Timber framing, Log building, Strawbale construction, Clay infill systems, Natural building, Design & Planing, Tools and equipment, Natural building products, Traditional building crafts and Sustainable wood suppliers and more are included.

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From the Publisher:

We have attempted to make this SOURCEBOOK comprehensive and easy to use. To make it easy to find any and all sources available for a given product or service, companies have been listed in up to three categories. In addition to category listings, an alphabetical company directory, internet web sites and email addresses, and subject indexes are included. For the most part, the listings are small progressive companies and dedicated individuals who have devoted themselves to their own unique style of building, design, or product manufacturing, and who care about quality and the environment. We encourage you to take advantage of their hard work by using this resource to serve all of your building needs.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Foreword, By Steve Chappell, Editor An alternative undercurrent to the conventional building systems of the day has existed throughout the ages, I'm convinced. There was a day, indeed, when timber framing was considered the convention and when thatch or stone were the only viable roofing options. With the natural evolution in technology and an ever changing resource supply, there is a slow, but continual, transformation in the conventions we use to pattern our building models--an endless round from the alternative, to the conventional, to the traditional, to the alternative, etc. For the most part, change follows in direct line with the availability and cost of materials and labor. The shift from timber framing to stud framing in this country was precipitated by the invention of the circular saw blade in 1840. This single advance in technology, invented by a Shaker woman in New York State, so dramatically increased the speed and efficiency of milling logs that for the first time cutting smaller pieces of lumber became economically viable. Vernacular styles change also. Frank Lloyd Wright was cinsidered a maverick in the early part of this century when he began developing his prairie style homes. By the end of his career, his design concepts became the pattern for the common house in the post war building boom. When we thing of Frank Lloyd Wright, we tend to think of modern forms and modern systems. The truth is that his wild notions were nothing more than variations to traditional and indigenous building systems that he had seen and studied in his travels. The rubble trench foundation is as old as the ages. These were what the grand cathedrals in Europe and the New England barn were built upon. The Japanese still used it extensively when Wright visited in 1914. Another tradition in Japan that intrigued Wright, were the mysterious, radiant heated floors. Wright studied these building styles and systems and then adapted them into his own design schemes. Almost overnight these most ancient and traditional building technologies were transformed into icons of modern architectural engineering. John Ruskin, the architectural historian, wrote somewhat mysteriously, that "there is no new architecture." What he meant, I believe, was that while the obtuse functions and architectural forms may appear to change, the essence of a building and our fundamental need for a dwelling or community hall, remains the same throughout all ages. As in the case with Frank Lloyd Wright, perhaps it's through the study of building techniques from the past that our so called modern forms will evolve. While we have called this the Alternative Building Sourcebook, it's really more of a universal/cross platform collection of people and companies who have devoted themselves to developing products and services that currently may appear to be in the alternative vein. Fundamentally they are all connected, in that they all, collectively, form a compendium of proven knowledge and wisdom of building crafts both ancient and modern. Our goal in putting this collection together was to provide an easy avenue for people to connect with qualified craftsmen, manufacturers and building suppliers that could help in defining and designing dwellings on a more personal level and with quality paramount. Quality and craftsmenship are two of the most important elements in any building endeavor. Without them, there will be no lasting value, no matter the cost.

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