Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Visionary Architect, Humanitarian, Writer & Philosopher

Nader Khalili 1936-2008 Click on photo to enlarge - photo credit unknown
Borrowed from Kelly Hart at his Green Home Building Blog
"No one can prove there is a meaning to life. I must make my own life meaningful. That is all."
One of the ways Iranian born and educated architect Nader Khalili made his life meaningful was by designing and building beautiful earth-friendly super-adobe structures at his Cal-Earth Institute Of Earth Art And Architecture in nearby Hesperia, California. And by sharing his ideas and enthusiasm not only with his Cal-Earth students, but also within a larger global community of thoughtful, creative & hopeful people from all walks of life. People who are concerned about a viable future as they take deliberate steps toward sustainable living.
Peggy and I had been admiring Khalili's work, through photographs, newspaper articles, and websites for some 15 years before finally visiting Cal-Earth last April for a first-hand look at his delightful creations.
See photos at our post here.
We didn't get to meet Mr. Khalili when we were at Cal-Earth, we missed him by a day, and figured we'd get the chance on our next visit, but that's not going to happen.
Nader Khalili passed away last Wednesday, March 5th, he was 72 years old.
Much has been written about Nader Khalili by the people who knew, loved, and worked with him.
Yesterday morning, one of those people posted a comment at my previous post.
I have re-posted the comment below---and I thank 'anonymous' for the information---because Nader Khalili was the rare kind of human being this over-populated world needs more of.

"Nader Khalili, internationally renowned architect, author, and educator, passed away at the age of 72 on Wednesday, March 5th.He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Hospital, of congestive heart failure.

Khalili was known for his innovation into the Geltaftan Earth-and-Fire System known as Ceramic Houses and the SuperAdobe Construction (sandbag and barbed wire) technique also known as Earthbag.

He developed his SuperAdobe technology in 1984, in response to a NASA call for designs for human settlements on the Moon and Mars.

He had been involved with Earth Architecture and Third World Development since 1975, and was a U.N. consultant for Earth Architecture.

In 1991 he founded the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal-Earth), in Hesperia, CA, which teaches his SuperAdobe building technique.

His sustainable solutions to human shelter have been published by NASA, and awarded by the United Nations, the Aga Khan award for Architecture, amongst others. (see http://www.calearth.org/khalili.htm, for more.)

He authored six books, including his international best-selling auto-biography, "Racing Alone," (his newest book "Emergency Shelter," available this summer) as well as two highly-acclaimed volumes translating the poetry of Rumi, "Fountain of Fire" and "Dancing the Flame."

Born in Iran as one of nine children, his quest was to empower the world's poor and refugees to build homes using the earth under their feet.

He was a prominent American leader on the value of ethically based architecture, where the needs of the homeless are considered above all else.

Inspired by the mystical poetry of Rumi, (whose poems he studied and translated, from an early age) his architecture was distilled from the timeless principles of this universe and its timeless materials -- the elements of earth, water, air, and fire, and has been described as "Poetry crystallized into structure."

Laura Huxley, Aldous Huxley's widow, called Khalili the "practical visionary."

He was a quiet hero and a gentle humanitarian, who wrote: "No one can prove there is a meaning to life. I must make my own life meaningful. That is all."

He is survived by his wife Iliona, son Dastan, daughter Sheefteh, eight brothers and sisters and extended family.

~~~The Burial Ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday March 11th at the Sontag Greek Amphitheater, Pomona College, 300 E. Bonita Avenue, Claremont, CA, 91711. North-East Parking Lot entrance.

Burial and wake to follow after the ceremony.

10:00 - 10:30 am arrive at the Sontag Greek Amphitheater: For directions call: (909) 576-9830 (The Sontag Greek Amphitheatre is adjacent to the Seaver Theatre due east of Oldenborg Residence Hall.

Located in a wonderful wooded area known as the Wash, it is secluded from traffic yet a five minute walk from the center of campus. There are many theaters in the college but only one open air amphitheater.)

Ceremony until around 12:00 noon.

Then to Oak Park Cemetery for the burial. The main entrance is at the end of Oak Park Drive, cross street with Sycamore Avenue. (909) 399-5487

After the burial, the wake/refreshments at the Seaver House, Pomona College close to the amphitheater and the organic garden."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Jim, I am so sad to read this.
I was just thinking of Khalili's wonderful work today. :-( I had not even heard that he passed away. I've been on kind of a news diet here lately. Thank you for posting about him. Another good soul, gone from this plane of existence . . . Kathy in KY

9:02 PM  
Blogger Sonia said...

I am sorry to read this... very sad...

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