Christmas has come and gone and its time to continue discussing people that have a profound influence on my thoughts.
Ross Chapin is an architect that has developed some fantastic designs of homes and cottages that he is more than wiling to share. I must admit that I envy his ability to design spaces with a true eye to detail. His homes provide a warmth and earthiness that is immediately appealing. Ross has gone one step further and written a fantastic book "Pocket Neighborhoods - Creating Small Scale Community in a Large Scale World". This book illustrates where I would like to go with my blog in the future. We all to often focus on "a building" or "the building", but avoid the context in which it will exist. His work offers a vision of how people can live in a community that fosters social interaction. This book is a must for anyone pursuing studies in architecture or anyone developing a more sustainable way of living.
Marianne Cusato is an architect that is best known for her Katrina Cottage, a housing type resulting from the devastation on New Orleans by hurricane Katrina. The Katrina Cottage concept came out of the New Urban Guild and propelled Marianne into national recognition. Once again, I am inspired by the simplicity and traditional character of her designs. Katrina cottages have been built to replace homes lost in the hurricane as well as incorporated into pocket neighborhoods. Katrina Cottages have even been sold as kits by Lowe's Hardware similar to the kits for Sears Homes.
What's most important about the work of Ross Chapin and Marianne Cusato (as well as others) is their willingness to openly share their work. If we are to transition into more sustainable communities, it will be imperative that we all openly share our knowledge. This is not the time to hoard information and ideas for personal pride or monetary gain. Food, clothing and shelter are too basic to become the domain of a few. As design professionals, we have an obligation to discuss and provide our musings with society at large.
I invite all to share in this ongoing adventure of discovery.