Look ma, no handrails

Southern California and far-away places. Hiking, wildlife, cycling etc.

Look ma, no handrails

Postby Wildhorse » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:35 am

http://www.treehugger.com/interior-desi ... anger.html

This article at Tree Hugger is titled, “Look Ma, no handrails, a house designed for danger.” It describes a house built in Japan that incorporates danger, especially the danger of falling into its design. The architect, Tomohiro Hata said, "the client follows a belief that if every possibility of danger is eliminated from your surroundings, this eventually sets people back on knowing how to overcome the smallest risk.” The house was designed to “explore an adventurous and playful spirit.”

The house is like wilderness. Even more, it is like architectural base jumping. It is like living on The Devil’s Backbone. This kind of living is not tolerated in the United States. It is illegal under our building codes.

A house without handrails is something like wilderness without cell phones and helicopter rescues.

If Hata's client is right, we are losing our ability to overcome even the smallest risk. I think we are. People in wilderness today don’t know how to overcome risk. They just call for help. They have even lost the ability to assess risk.

I removed a paved walkway that lead to my house, in a prim and proper suburban city, and replaced it with a dirt path that I keep open by raking the leaves to the side. A neighbor and a relative have independently commented on the high risk associated with the lack of paving. The bare dirt seems to terrify them. No trekking poles.
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Re: Look ma, no handrails

Postby zippetydude » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:15 pm

Hah! Take a look at the picture - it shows a little boy coming down the stairs... When mom and dad aren't home, guess who's going to be jumping from one surface to another like Spiderman? I would have LOVED that house as a kid, and I probably would have had an extra broken bone or two, but what fun it would have been! I'm not sure they needed to get all philosophical about the house, but it does look like an adventure!

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Re: Look ma, no handrails

Postby Wildhorse » Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:40 pm

The house represents political resistance as well as philosophical ethics and aesthetics. Even religion is involved - Zen, in this case. Religion is perhaps the oldest basis for residential design. Wilderness is like this too.

A tract home (and any other home built under building codes) epitomizes the political views of the government safety bureaucracy and political and economic interests of the building industry. Similarly, the political views of government land managers and the political and economic interests of fire fighting, rescue and tourism industries shape what happens in places called wilderness and affect the character of otherwise wild places. Part of our religious heritage in the west associated fear and danger with wilderness.
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