21st Anniversary Republication of Be Your Own Architect Handbook!

To coincide with the original publication of Be Your Own Architect 21 years ago, in 1992, Python Press is to republish both volumes of the Handbook including revisions, updates, photographs and a comprehensive Design Programme and supporting Worksheets.
In many ways these books are more relevant today than ever!

Both volumes will be available from March 2013 along with ‘SHELTERMAKER DREAMING – Reclaiming our Time & Space‘, my latest book which will offer stimulating insight into the role of architecture in society and in our lives.


I will be in Ireland & the UK in March and April 2013 to promote the publication of the Be Your Own Architect Handbook and SHELTERMAKER DREAMING.
A wideranging Rail Tour is planned consisting of talks and workshops with a focus on the dynamics of Reclaiming Time & Space.
You are invited to participate in this Tour by helping to organising an event in your local area. Use the ‘Contact‘ button above if you are interested in getting involved.

The things Chinese families own

Huang Qingjun has spent nearly a decade travelling to remote parts of China to persuade people who have sometimes never been photographed to carry outside all their household possessions and pose for him.

The results offer glimpses of the utilitarian lives of millions of ordinary Chinese who, at first glance, appear not to have been swept up by the same modernisation that has seen hundreds of millions of others leave for the cities.

Mexico’s ‘people of corn’

In Mexico, corn is central to most people’s diets, and to many farmers’ livelihoods.

Why we won and how we are losing

A review of recent books on resource depletion and ecological degradation

James Howard Kunstler, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2012).
Michael T Klare, The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources (New York: Metropolitan, 2012).
Ian Tattersall, Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

We may not be driving ourselves into extinction, but we are creating conditions that make our future frightening. We label as “crazy” those members of the human species whose behaviour we find hard to understand, but the cascading crises in contemporary political, economic and cultural life make a bigger question increasingly hard to ignore: Is the species itself crazy? Has the process of evolution in the hominid line produced a species that is both very clever and very crazy?

We humans routinely believe crazy things, but are we a crazy species? Does the big brain that allowed us to master the planet have a basic design flaw? Given the depth of the social and ecological crises we face – or, in some cases, refuse to face – should we be worried about whether we can slip out of the traps we have created?

Cardboard bicycle ‘could change world’

A bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard has the potential to change transportation habits from the world’s most congested cities to the poorest reaches of Africa, its Israeli inventor says.

Izhar Gafni (50), is an expert in designing automated mass-production lines. He is an amateur cycling enthusiast who for years toyed with an idea of making a bicycle from cardboard.

He said during a recent demonstration that after much trial and error, his latest prototype had proven itself and mass production will begin in a few months. The bike is expected to retail at about $20 (€15.43).

How Green Is An Electric Car?

Electric cars have been hailed as the clean energy solution to personal transportation demands. The technology has come a long way in just a few years, and already there are thousands of plug-in vehicles gliding silently through our city streets.

A new study out of Norway challenges the claim that these cars are truly “green,” however. It’s true that there aren’t any emissions coming out of the tailpipe, but that’s not the only way personal vehicles impact the environment. The research, published recently in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, concludes that our push for widespread EV adoption might be premature, and that the electric car is just a trade-in of an old set of pollution problems for new ones.

The World’s Thinnest House

Polish architect Jakub Szczesny has built a house that is being described as the ‘world’s thinnest house’ in Warsaw.

It was built for acclaimed Israeli writer Etgar Keret, who will live and work in the space for part of the year.

Other artists and intellectuals will be invited to stay in the space which is just 47 inches wide at its widest point.

NEXT SHELTERMAKER: December Solstice