Bob Theis

Bob Theis is an architect living in the San Francisco Bay area who closed a New York City office specializing in renovation of existing structures to work and study with Christopher Alexander, the well known architectural researcher, theoretician, and builder.  

Shortly after his work with Mr. Alexander, he became a pioneer in the use of straw bale construction, designing the first load-bearing straw bale structure to receive a building permit in a seismic zone. Since then, he has designed dozens of straw bale buildings, from tiny cottages to entire monastic complexes, and continued to develop new approaches in this material.   In recent years, his practice has enlarged to include a significant amount of planning and consulting work for monasteries, retreat centers, ecovillages, and a college campus for sustainable studies, incorporating the recent developments in sustainable technologies as well as the emerging principles of sustainable neighborhood design.

His writings have included eight articles for the natural building magazine The Last Straw, a collaboration on the straw bale chapter in the Wiley & Sons book Natural Building, a chapter on fire safety in the forthcoming book on technical issues in straw bale construction from New Society Publishers, and at least eighteen reports related to commissioned planning projects.  

He lectures several times a year at conferences and Permaculture certificate courses on a wide variety of subjects, including the design lessons of patterns in nature, the technical aspects of natural building, and principles of building and neighborhood design.

Bob teaches us to see patterns in nature, and to mimic them in our building designs. Read Bob's article:

What you want is what you need: The Ecology of Placemaking

Leave aside for the moment, all the compelling data concerning the damage done to the earth when we build. Sobering as it is, it's too abstract to really make much difference in how the places we live get built.  

Let's talk about what is tangible to everyone: what we see and feel in the places surrounding us.  

The simple fact is, we don't especially like the places we currently build. In fact, we mostly dislike them, and have for the last half century. When we have the opportunity to be someplace nice, we go somewhere special, meaning someplace protected from the typical building practices of the last 50 years.  

Joel Salatin, farmer, author of Pastured Poultry Profit$, Salad Bar Beef , You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise , and Family Friendly Farming: A Multi-Generational Home-Based Business Testament.

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