This blog chronicles the importance of and efforts to return to Mother Earth in spirit and in body. This journey is not one of primitivism or reenactment of an earlier age. It's hope is to inspire me to find the middle ground between necessities of the 21st Century, the need to find a simpler way of life, and our ethical responsibility to protect the land and preserve our natural resources.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Russian lays claim to log home

Britain’s Telegraph reports that one-time Russian gangster Nikoai Sutyagin’s home is near demolition. The less charitably disposed dismiss it as a glorified barn, fire hazard and eyesore. But on one thing everyone agrees: Nikolai Sutyagin’s home is certainly different.

A jumble of logs and planking rises 144 feet to form Sutyagin’s record-breaking ‘eighth wonder of the world.’ Dominating the skyline of Arkhangelsk, a city in Russia’s far northwest, it is believed to be the world’s tallest wooden house, soaring 13 floors to reach 144ft. The house that Sutyagin built is also crumbling, incomplete and under threat of demolition from city authorities determined to end the former convict’s eccentric 15-year project.

“First I added three floors but then the house looked ungainly, like a mushroom,” he said. “So I added another and it still didn’t look right so I kept going. What you see today is a happy accident.”

There were other motives too. Having grown up in a Soviet communal flat, Sutyagin said he felt lonely living by himself. Not only would his house make a perfect love nest for his molls, it could also accommodate the 18 executives at his construction company. He even built a five-story bath house in the garden, complete with rooms where he and his colleagues could have a little bit of privacy with their girlfriends.

Neighbors consider it a monstrosity and the city authorities, pointing to bylaws that say no wooden structure should be higher than two floors, warn that fire could cause the whole suburb to go up in flames. They have begun action to pull it down. Meanwhile, he spends his time taking visitors on death-defying tours that involve criss-crossing rotting planks, tumbling over logs, and climbing icy ladders. Yet, he holds the record for having built the largest “log cabin” in the world.

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