Tony Wrench’s low-impact roundhouse saved from demolition

by ziggy on September 17, 2008 -- 2 comments -- Follow

Tony Wrench of West Wales, famous for his hand-built, low impact roundhouse, has recently been deemed victorious over official planners wanting to demolish his home.

Get the full story here.

Natural builders often have a difficult time dealing with local bureaucracy and its restrictive (and short-sighted) building codes. There’s plenty good reason why Wrench didn’t bother to seek out official permission, which is made clear in this article.

Congrats, Wrench!

(Fun fact: Tony Wrench has been very kind enough to answer several of my reciprocal roof questions via email, and I totally appreciate the time he has taken with me. Check out his book, Building a Low-Impact Roundhouse for the only published information on reciprocal roofs!)

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  • Marjo Jenniskens

    Dear Tony,

    In Nepal traditional houses are slowly disappearing from areas where road access has come.

    People are getting exposed to modern “technologies” like concrete, tin roofs etc.. which they like to use for their houses. Though, these “new modern” houses are less isolated, have unnatural ground materials . more expensive etcetc..

    A friend of mine told me about your “round house” project and sent me your website link. The friend I am talking about, Carin from the UK, contacted you with regard
    to build a roundhouse for a childrens’ project in Bulgaria. This project didn’t happen at the end, but you were interested that time.

    What is my idea?

    I am living with a family in Nepal who is living in a traditional mud house in Pokhara area, one of the few left in this area. The family is always complaining that they would love to live in a concrete (cement) house, but actually they don’t know what they are talking about.

    Yes, their house, the way it is build now, is difficult . a lot of holes, free entrance for different animals like snakes, rats and mousses, mud ground etc. But… a lot of advantages as well.

    Probably you feel already that I would love to preserve the traditional Nepali houses and … maybe you would like to help building a better version of the traditional Nepali round house!?!

    I don’t know yet exactly how and what, but I am really curious what you think about the idea!

    A little more ideas from my side.
    * I would like to find a “poor” family who do have some land i.e. inherited from their parents, but no possibilities to build a house of their own on
    this land.

    * Or . maybe a nice project which would like to provide a homely environment to a specific group of people, i.e. woman in difficult situations (abused, abandoned, etc.) to give them a safe and homely environment … to empower
    them. (I can give you more details if you are interested!)

    By building a (low cost) traditional Nepali house for them, with more comfort than the ones they used to build themselves, with natural resources etc we could help this family/project and . you could set an example in new
    possibilities for natural houses. Nepal could be the place to do something like this with a wider result in future, while the people here are still so close in living this way naturally. In most of the country people still do
    live in natural houses, but . as soon as they get more exposed to money and other resources they change their beautiful traditional building styles and .. unfortunately their living styles as well.

    Besides that some information which could be interesting for you:

    * Landslides are increasing due to continuing cutting trees for cooking fires. Even in areas where people switched to gas bottle for cooking, some are starting to cook on wood again due to extremely high gas prices (among others due to India’s export policy!). Solar cooking or other natural ways could be the future here in Nepal.

    * In many places there is no electricity, and in places where there is electricity we often have load shedding up to 40 hours a week in spring time, due to a enormous shortage of hydro electric power systems. Biogas,
    solar systems are slowly increasing in Nepal, but still not as a general excepted solution. Most households have no or max one buffalo and maybe 1-3 goats, together with human “shit” of the family this is often not enough to
    cook two Dal Bhat’s a day, plus making their tea.

    Is this something you would like to get involved with?

    Please let me know, if you would like to receive more information about Nepal, their houses, their culture, ideas etcetc..:-)!

    I am living in Nepal for the last 4 years, working in a project for disadvantaged children as well in city areas as in very remote Himalaya areas in the Western Region of Nepal.
    Best wishes,

  • Rick

    Yeah, they’ve been living in this house for years, and desperately want to replace it.

    But you come along, a visitor from a privileged society, and immediately conclude that they, “Don’t know what they’re talking about.”

    Arrogant much?

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