Friday, June 27, 2008

The Shedworker's Bookshelf - A Place of My Own by Michael Pollan

Subtitled 'The education of an amateur builder', this is a superb account of how Pollan made his own garden office. He engages an architect and builder, but his own input is immense and he gets involved in the nuts and bolts of the whole project from the start, including the actual building of the shed. You can see pictures of the finished project here.

But it's much more than that, as he also looks at the aesthetics of small places, from Venturi's 'decorated sheds' to Frank Lloyd Wright's thoughts about vertical vs horizontal. My copy is full of pencil-marked passages such as this on the attraction of a writer's cabin:
"'s like a wish for a slightly different angle on things... It might be a view of the same old life, but from out here it will look different, the outlines of the self a little more distinct... a space where I enjoyed a certain sovreignty, where I could shut my door and maintain my desk in a state easily mistaken for chaos..."
An absolutely essential volume.

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