Taos writer releases ‘Home Gods: Sustainable Buildings and Renegade Builders’: UNM Newsroom

Dwelling off-grid is turning into as synonymous with Taos as is artwork. 5 years in the past, Taos Excessive College English instructor and writer Jim Kristofic set out throughout the Southwest on a quest to search out sustainable constructing methods and study the philosophies of its gurus.

What got here from Kristofic’s expertise as an apprentice with the architects and builders — who know how you can erect buildings that care for their inhabitants and the surroundings — is his newest e book, Home Gods: Sustainable Buildings and Renegade Builders. It’s revealed by The College of New Mexico Press and was launched Might 1.


Home Gods is about dwelling in higher buildings — reasonably priced, sustainable constructions constructed with no hurt to the surroundings and fewer stress on the pockets. His e book shouldn’t be, nonetheless, a DYI information to sustainable houses however, somewhat, a e book about why we needs to be constructing extra of them. It’s extra cerebral and soulful than a bunch of blueprints.

What emerges in Home Gods is an odd and haunting quest by means of adobe mud and mayhem, encounters with shamans and stray canine, photo voltaic panels, tragedy, and true believers. It’s a story about doing one thing significant, and concerning the sorts of issues that develop out of deep ache. “Considered one of these items is compassion — from which can come solace,” stated Kristofic.

He spent 5 summers researching within the type of building work and conducting interviews. Kristofic admits that he had a tough time discovering methods to attach all of the views of the completely different builders. “However I discovered them,” he stated. What most shocked Kristofic from the labor and discussions was, “The less complicated you retain issues, the higher.”

The importance of this e book was obvious to him earlier than he wrote the primary sentence. “I’ve challenged the concept sophistication and expertise are ‘salvational’ forces,” he shared. “The complete e book was vital and I loved writing all of it.”

A contributor to Home Gods is UNM-Taos Development Know-how Coordinator Mark Goldman, who is without doubt one of the builders/architects interviewed for a chapter. Kristofic reached out to Goldman after he attended a one-day UNM-Taos Development Tech public occasion related to the Taos Photo voltaic Music Pageant. Coincidently, Kristofic’s classroom at Taos Excessive College was close to the place Goldman was educating a dual-credit building expertise course. They subsequently grew to become buddies.

“Jim would sketch hand-drawn idea concepts,” Goldman stated about his function within the mission. “I’d flip these ideas into pc 3D fashions and plans, sections and elevations, and, most significantly, buildable building particulars. I used to be form of in an everyday architect sort of function.”

Goldman and Kristofic are within the technique of constructing “a quite simple, small dwelling” in Arroyo Hondo, which is talked about all through the e book. Kristofic added that their construction is “experimental.” Goldman is continuous to assist develop the development paperwork for the small home. Goldman stated he got here to understand from working with Kristofic on this very small dwelling design that “the traditional dwelling being constructed within the U.S., and supported by the complete mortgage business, is probably a lot greater and dearer than what’s desired.”

Kristofic was raised on the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona. Apart from being an English instructor and writer, he’s worn many different employee hats: river information, journalist, ranch hand, Nationwide Park Service ranger, and oral historian. He presently lives in Taos. That is his seventh e book.

“Kristofic is a terrific, compelling author who has turned the subject of sustainable housing right into a transcendent trigger. His data of the land and the tradition and the historical past of the American Southwest is nothing wanting thrilling and, as a reader, I’d comply with him anyplace he desires to go. We’d like what he has to say. And it’s an unlimited pleasure to listen to it.”

— Sebastian Junger, New York Instances bestselling writer of WAR, The Excellent Storm, and Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging.

Home Gods: Sustainable Buildings and Renegade Builders is accessible on Amazon.

Ninjay H Briotyon

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