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A view today of the interior of a very livable Placitas dome featured in the 1970s books Shelter and Home Sweet Dome.

“Shelter, Placitas style” highlights life and times in the Sixties and Seventies

—Tony Hull

The Placitas Community Library will present an historic exhibit, “Shelter, Placitas Style,” referencing the highly creative Placitas housing during the 1960s and 1970s period, as presented in the iconic and ubiquitous 1973 book Shelter, edited by Lloyd Kahn. While this book covered innovative architecture from all over the world, a number of pages were on residences created in Placitas in the years leading to publication. Five years later, a German publication entitled Home Sweet Dome, by Wolfgang Ebert, also included chapters on Placitas freeform and dome-housing forms. Placitas of the late Sixties was clearly thought of as a center of innovation in housing. In “Shelter, Placitas Style,” we will revisit historic images. We will see ingeniously constructed forms unfamiliar to other generations, and building methods with such novel materials as car tops.

So, what in the world is a Freeform house or a Zome? Who is Steve Baer and others who were drawn to out-of-the-box building? Those coming to this exhibit will understand better these intriguing housing forms, which remain part of Placitas. In some cases, specific structures are long gone, and in others, they are very much in use to this day, providing gracious living for current residents. One former resident of a freeform house said, “I still have trouble living in a room with square walls.” Clearly the experience living in these forms was different and highly appealing for many. There was both beauty and utility in this type of construction. Though, there usually were more than a few water leaks, as well.

“Shelter, Placitas Style” will include both historic and contemporary photography and will take place in the Library’s Collin Meeting Room, September 1 through September 27. A reception will take place on September 8, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. At this reception, anyone who would like to tell his story of “Shelter” is encouraged to do so. Both exhibit and reception are open to all without charge. No exhibit can hope to tell the whole story, and we respect that some who were part of the “Shelter” scene chose not to talk about their exhibits. So this exhibit is incomplete, but hopefully it will act as an invitation for all who wish to contribute their stories and images in the future. In this sense, what is presented is organic, and we hope it will grow during the exhibit and beyond.

This exhibit is sponsored by the Placitas Community Library History Project. Materials continue to be collected on all aspects of this period in Placitas, and we welcome talking with any involved in Placitas of the Sixties and Seventies. For further information, email Tony Hull at: or call 771-8566.

LPA presents annual Fall Harvest Festival

—Chris Frye, Las Placitas Association

On September 29, the Las Placitas Association will hold their annual Fall Harvest Festival at the Anasazi Winery. There will be fun for the whole family, with competitions for baked goods, garden produce, canned/preserved foods, and pumpkin or melon carving competitions for the kids. Entry is free, and everyone is encouraged to enter their best pie, cake, or bread, homemade mozzarella cheese, or canned pears; ribbons will be awarded. Judging begins at 2:00.

Joe, “the Bee Guy,” will give a talk about beekeeping, and we’ll hear about the Birds of the Placitas Open Space and its bird nest box program as well. Find out what the best birdhouse design for your yard could be, and how to make it. Show off your handy-crafts—weaving, sewing, beadwork, leather, glass, or woodcrafts, for example—at an art table. To reserve a free table, contact Chris at

Wine tasting and purchasing will be available, as well. The festival runs from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Anasazi Fields Winery, 26 Camino de los Pueblitos, in the Village of Placitas. Contact Chris at for further information

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