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Deep Ecology: Self-Knowledge Through Making and Living in our Physical Home

Deep Ecology Helicon Works ArchitectsSelf-knowledge needs to be offered on a large scale because it is the only way out for the human race in this moment where we are on the brink of collapse.

Sri Prem Baba

This quote, from a beloved spiritual teacher, concisely explains why my work is slowly evolving to focusing on the other side of a coin.  I’m still an architect, gratefully serving clients who are brought to me, helping them create a home that is nurturing for their soul’s awakening as well as the place they inhabit.  The deep current – the coin – within my work is further articulated in a quote from Vaclav Havel –
 

We too can offer something to you: our experience and the knowledge that has come from it. The specific experience I’m talking about has given me one certainty: consciousness precedes being… For this reason, the salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and in human responsibility. Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans, and the catastrophe toward which this world is headed – be it ecological, social, demographic or a general breakdown of civilization – will be unavoidable.

– Vaclav Havel, when President of the Czech Republic, from a speech to the U. S. Congress
 
This current is love.  We can open our heart to receive love through the making of, and living in, our physical home. Conversely, this current is also revealed as we engage in our life’s journey of finding our spiritual Home – through giving love, by knowing and caring for every fiber of the world around us and within each other’s heart.
You could also call this work deep ecology, or creating place and self with an ecological consciousness
 
I’ve been growing into this awareness since 1989, all along writing as a way to understand.  All of that has coalesced into a book the past year called “Dwelling: A Way Home”. You can learn more about this project by going to the Dwelling page on our website.  It’s still taking form, and I’m seeing it becoming a book by early fall.
 
The vision Helicon Works Architects serves remains the same, but, we’ll be focusing more on offering a variety of types of workshops, where you can experience this work (without creating and building your home).  Please stay tuned and join me in this journey… we have no time to loose!

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Making a Better World in Our Troubled Time – What We Can Do

Bill’s latest article “Making a Better World in Our Troubled Time – What We Can Do” has been featured in the April issue of Natural Awakenings magazine. Following is the full article:

Making a Better World - Bill Hutchins Helicon Works Architects article Natural Awakenings Magazine
“Making a Better World in Our Troubled World – What We Can Do” article in Natural Awakenings April issue.

I know in our troubled time, many are asking, “What can I do to continue making a better world?” Part of my engagement—amid so may negative civil forces—is to support organizations that are doing good work, by giving money and volunteering. Central to my intentions is an issue that’s been growing in my heart—the relationship between housing and poverty.

I’ve taken on this pursuit through the Appalachia Service Project and have seen, firsthand, what Matthew Desmond writes about in Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Desmond chronicles the economic and psychological toll of living in substandard housing. I’m beginning to connect with some of the inspiring programs in our D.C. region and look forward to hearing recommendations from readers for organizations confronting issues of inner city poverty and housing.

I have also been involved with housing for those in need in Nepal, since 2008, through the Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco-Foundation (KRMEF.com). We’ve built a school, a community center, a farming education center, and many homes, all with waste glass bottles, earthen plaster, bamboo and thatch. Part of what makes this work healing is that the homeowners can be a part of the building. Habitat for Humanity follows this model. We’re considering other aspects of this work that are transferable to our region.

As a residential architect based in Takoma Park, I’ve been helping clients create soul-nourishing homes for 26 years. Helicon Works is an architectural collaborative, and we’re beginning to explore how we can be a part of providing nurturing shelter for all. On a parallel track, I have been documenting my internal process of finding my spiritual home, and my work with clients. I’ve been working on Dwelling, A Way Home (now a text, hopefully soon to be a book).

This writing is an exploration of the deeper impulses of making home in the world and is offered to all through participation in our workshops (including one on April 8). Yet, I’ve wanted to take this work beyond our entitled, navel-gazing population (what I most know), into a broader, perhaps more impactful world. I know it’s difficult to live fruitfully in the world without a deep sense of home, regardless of our economic situation.

Most directly, we need to make homes for our homeless companions, as I firmly believe that no one suffers alone; we’re all in this together. Then, we need to provide enlivening homes for those living in impoverished housing. This is a larger issue than architectural—given your skills and knowledge, you may want to consider how you can help those in need?

This movement within springs from the emergent resistance’s elegant, yet simple, motto, “Love Trumps Hate.” This is my mantra. I believe it’s essential to love our estranged companions with whom we share our country. It’s so easy to “make” them wrong, which only feeds the darkness. I need to know them, love them and break bread with them. Studies have shown that sharing a meal with those we don’t see eye to eye with helps bridge differences.

There is much we can do. As Arlie Russell Hochschild writes in Strangers in Their Own Land, many of our fellow citizens from the red states feel they have been forgotten. Finding ways to engage with them is one of my intentions.  If there are any who share this intention to make a better world, let’s meet and start the work. Please share your thoughts and comments below so we can begin to engage in this dialogue in community.

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Dwelling Workshop: Creating Soul Nurturing Homes

New Dwelling: A Way Home workshop on April 8th, 2017!

Explore your spiritual connection to your home, community and place by working with poetic images of home through creative/meditative exercises. Bill’s Dwelling project is a series of writings based on his explorations of spiritual traditions, meditation, poetry, being in nature, dance and play. Helicon Works Architects explores this spiritual dimension in all projects, as it serves as one of the three fundamental pillars of our approach.

Follow this link for more information or to sign up for a day of mindful explorations between our physical home and our spiritual Home.

Dwelling workshop
Learn to create a Soul Nurturing Home in our latest Dwelling Workshop on April 8th 2017

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Ways of Dwelling workshop Oct. 29

Bill Hutchins, Principal Architect, is leading a new Ways of Dwelling workshop on October 29th. Don’t miss your chance to explore the dialogue between your inner Home – our life’s journey to wholeness – and our physical home.

By working with poetic images of Home through creative and meditative exercises, participants deepen the way they live in their home. We also consider ways of living in our home – as sailing – where the vessel we live in can put us in more intimate relationship with the life we want to live into.

The workshops will be conducted at Bill’s home in Takoma Park. This is also his office and where he explores this work. Bill’s home embodies the ecologically sensitive architecture and spiritual connections to home that Helicon Works Architects is known for.

Ways of Dwelling image by Angie Seckinger for workshop
Image by Angie Seckinger

When: Saturday, October 29th from 9:30-5:00pm

Where: 7108 Holly Avenue, Takoma Park, MD

How much: $150, including healthy, organic, veggie snacks and lunch

Individuals, couples, families and groups are most welcome to join us. Please get in touch with bill@heliconworks.com or call 301.404.5578 for more information.

 

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“A Conscious Collaborative” by Sam Hudgins

Natural Awakenings article of Helicon Works Architects
“A Conscious Collaborative” article in Natural Awakenings by Sam Hudgins

Helicon Works Architects is featured in Natural Awakenings with an article by Sam Hudgins. Thank you Sam for capturing the spirit of Helicon Works Architects and Bill Hutchins’ work when you describe us “A Conscious Collaborative”.

Since 1989 Bill has practiced ecologically sensitive architecture. With the remodel and straw bale addition of his home in 2006, HWA morphed into a collaborative. Ever since then our close-knit community of professionals has collaborated, bringing expertise and consciousness to the process of designing and building homes.

Read the full article to get to know us better. We hope you enjoy it and look forward to hearing from you. Whether you have a simple question or a project in mind, don’t hesitate to get in touch with bill@heliconworks.com or call 301.404.5578.

 

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