After years of living in a crowded, full of concrete city like Bucharest, I am fully enjoying the benefits of English countryside. In my walks along the canal here in the village where I currently live, I see endless green fields, sunny meadows, slow narrowboats, lots of birds and blackberries... it's just very peaceful and 'back to basics' kind of feeling.
And there's this place I pass by where you can see in the distance a shabby shack that in my imagination is actually that kind of self-sufficient green house belonging to some hippie guy (preferably an artist with long hair that makes lots of money from occasionally selling some of his work :D)...
I never actually look at it very carefully cause I don't want to spoil my vision. In my head looks something like this picture up here (which is actually from NZ and available for rent here)
anyway... I always had these dreams of escaping the city and living outside social conventions in a house like this. And there are some hippie communities that still live on today. Maybe one of the most well known example is Christiania which is a surreal, semi-autonomous, rebel neighbourhood of Copenhagen. I'm not gonna go into details here, in short Cristiania began in 1971 as an occupation of disused army barracks in the south of the city and has continued for over 30 years as a sort of utopian social experiment. It is currently in demise and you can read more about it here and here.
What I am interested in here is the houses themselves... I love this form of wild, freeform architecture that in its ways of meeting the climate demands with limited resources, the use of light, is actually very functional and closer to the modernist architecture than to vernacular. I love their use of wood and textiles and the way the interiors are full of coarse but pleasing textures, the architecturally bold beams and trusses and the sense that the trees outside are part of the room. These houses represent boldness, creativity, freedom.
There were more of these communities throughout the world... many of them faced lots of problems with the authorities for planning issues. I also found this article about one in wales that successfully won this battle and I love both the interior and the exterior of this house from their village.
And if you got up to this point of this long post I'd like to recommend a film.
The ballad of Jack and Rose is great film about a father and daughter living isolated on an island off the East Coast, US, in a once thriving commune grapple, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
He lived his life motivated by environmentalism and altruistic ideals and the film analyzes the effect of his beliefs on himself and his daughter, and the difference between his world and the modern day 'invaders'.
I liked this film...cause I'm a film freak, however some people might find the film pace a little sluggish. But for film lovers this is a masterpiece on the disillusionment of the idealism born out of the 1960's anti-war movement and an unusual coming of age story.
OK...hope I managed to transfer some of my infatuation with hippie houses and ideals...