A Rebel Without A Clue… The Corten Manifesto.

19 Mar

While “on assignment” in the Northwest, where we’re about to do something I’ve aimed my sights at for over a decade….

 I found myself questioned by local building authorities who demanded that I “explain myself”.

Now I suspect that they were related to the same guys that recently tried to waylay a pal of mind, Owen Geiger, of earthbag housing fame…

Just like most other places in America, if you are doing something different than “the norm”… people get suspicious and unnerved.

 “Why can’t you just be like all the other builders. They don’t make waves or promote ideas that can’t be reached by mortal men…”

I had to laugh. Many of these folks were either flying desks covered in building permit applications, directly related to builders or knee deep in lumber or housing paychecks.

It didn’t matter that we’re creating jobs where there are none. It doesn’t matter that we’re actually creating housing where it’s needed most. It doesn’t matter that we’re doing it affordably and effectively in a struggling economy where new housing starts are becoming scarce.

Apparently I  (and those of my ilk) am a threat to these “suits” and their very existence.

 I’ve heard it all before, in fact too many times to count…

Builders by nature seem to be incremental conservatives. Radical changes in technology are rarely accepted in any real form until someone puts themselves (and more importantly their reputation) at risk by embracing them. This is because it’s more acceptable to to gain success by using proven materials and components. Even my college professors sang praise of this road;

“Use materials that are well documented and understood, materials in ready supply, that can be quickly modified and finessed in order to meet any site condition that may exist.”

Guys like ME live on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I’ve been referred to (among other things – some not fit for print) as “that controversial visionary”.

It’s because I am constantly trying to build homes that are stronger, more affordable and more efficient. You can imagine the rubble put in the way of those navigating my road. WE are met with constant rejection because far reaching change is anathema to those who seek “safe profit” at the expense of progress.

 “Safety and familiarity” will always squash dreams in those with little resolve.

I am CERTAIN that my ISBU homes and structures are superior to existing designs because they are lighter, stronger, safer and more cost effective to actually build.

 My ISBU buildings, be they single family homes or commercial buildings, take less power than those of my contemporaries and exceed their performance.

My ISBU buildings take less time to construct than those similar buildings accomplished by my contemporaries.

 My problem isn’t with finding families looking for a better way.

 My problem isn’t with finding investors looking for a cleaner, safer path that still yields profit.

My problem is with Luddites that can’t wrap their heads around the facts that every part of my designs and constructs leads them into unfamiliar places where they are faced with challenges that seem to overwhelm them. I take them to a place they don’t understand.

When I started along this path over thirty years ago, in a place just hours from where I sit now, I was deemed;

“… a crackpot, a hippie sympathizer, a rebel without a clue…”

I’m not really surprised by this. I’m a student of history. And history demonstrates to us that everything changes slowly.

 But eventually, most visionaries are proven right, given a few lines of praise in the media and then… the world moves on.

Now, those same people who defamed me decades ago (when I still had a full head of hair and the ability to run a marathon without begging for death at the end…) call me a visionary, a “veritable Green God clad in a cape of steel and a big capital “C” emblazoned on his chest”.

It’s amusing. It’s funny what 30 years of sweat, toil and welder burns will do to transform you.

The funny thing is that I haven’t changed a thing except the tools. Admittedly, tools have gotten better… so much so that now FAMILIES can use them to build their own homes and structures with just a little “direction and inspiration”.

 There are those who seek to stop us, to prevent us from helping families put roofs over their heads.

 My father, in his own way, taught me HOW to fight…

 My mother taught me WHY to fight…

 My mother also raised me to have a spine…

 Great things are coming, and…

 I ain’t skeered… 🙂

 Stay tuned.

One Response to “A Rebel Without A Clue… The Corten Manifesto.”

  1. Bull Elk March 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Gotta appreciate “unconventionalness”! Innovators are frequently way out front leading the charge without the luxury of the reaffirming masses (who more often than not are not only clueless but remained determined to stay on a path of disappointment). You go, Alex! But please don’t forget that there are a few of us token conservatives here who are unconventional and not entirely Luddite, OK?! 🙂 Semantics, semantics… I know. 🙂

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