A Hands-on Revolution- Financial Times feature

Financial Times- May 23, 2009
A Hands-on Revolution by Madeleine Johnson
A few years ago Jon Biehler took a life-changing bicycle ride through the US state of Maine. He happened upon a school – the Shelter Institute – which would eventually transform him from a teacher into an architect and builder, the sort of man able to put a roof over his own head.
“[I was] already interested in building a house for myself with good construction techniques and a very open feeling [and] I realised that Shelter Institute could give me the knowledge to either contract out or take on whatever portion of the work I wanted,” recalls Biehler, who is based in Germany. “A few summers later, I took their three-week post-and-beam course.”
Enchanted by the school’s surroundings, he bought a nearby plot of land, where he erected a pre-cut 20ft by 40ft post-and-beam structure, which he finished himself, while calling in professionals for wiring and plumbing. Within three summers he had a completed vacation house, garden shed and boat house. And now, after getting “invigorated” by his summer 2008 school project – a frame cabin – he has started work on a year-round retirement home.

Read more... (Yestermorrow story starts a few paragraphs down)