tofino book: builders of the pacific coast

Builders of the Pacific Coast

Lloyd Kahn introduces his newest book to Tofino

the letter 'I'In 2004, Lloyd Kahn discovered a group of unique carpenters along the Pacific Coast of North America. Over a two-year period, he made four trips north from his home in the San Francisco Bay Area, up the coast, shooting photos and interviewing builders for this book.

Builders of the Pacific Coast focuses on a group of carpenters along the 1000-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast from Northern California up to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and the book is a sprawling photo-essay of their skills and craftsmanship.

Due to high rainfall and fast-growing forests, there's a large amount of wood available for building in the Northwest. Its abundance (although more so 30 years ago than today) has given many of these builders the material and inspiration to create these structures. A lot of the wood used in these buildings came off the beach, or at least from very close by. In this relatively small area, there's been a vortex of creative carpentry energy.

Many of these buildings were built in the '70s and '80s, some in the '60s, a singular period in North American history. This group of builders, the Whole Earth Catalog guys, were acting out their dreams. You could live on very little money, land was cheap, building codes few. It was a period likely to never be duplicated, a 20 to 30-year span of inspiration and freedom, of spirit made manifest in a number of handmade homes. Many of the buildings shown here, Kahn learned, were inspired by his book Shelter.

Much of this, by the way, was green building 30 to 40 years before it became Green Building. Using natural and sustainable materials. Practicality. Small-scale technology. Power from sun, wind, and water where possible. Fitting buildings into natural surroundings. Working with one's hands.

There are four featured builders: Lloyd House, master craftsman and designer who has created a series of unique homes on Hornby Island; Bruno Atkey, builder of a number of houses and lodges built of hand-split cedar on the Pacific Coast 40 miles by sea north of Tofino; Jan Janzen, a carpenter and sculptor who has created wildly imaginative structures in and around Tofino; and SunRay Kelley, barefoot builder tuned into Nature, who has built houses, temples, and saunas in Washington, California, and other parts of North America. In addition, there are working homesteads, sculptural buildings of driftwood, homes that are beautiful as well as practical, live-aboard boats, gypsy-type caravans, and examples of stunning architectural design.

Kahn asks the reader to come along and ride shotgun with him, going down these roads, riding the ferries, walking the beaches, talking to these builders, and seeing their unique creations.

Tofino Books

Tofino Time Magazine November 2008

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Lloyd Kahn introduces his book 'Builders of the Pacific Coast', which includes the work of builders in Tofino.

tofino time november 2008

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