Born 1942. Nationality: Welsh.
Studied architecture, then sculpture in London. Committed to eco-architecture (and ecological lifestyle) from 1970. Built four eco-houses (by hand: no machinery), then led volunteers to build two Steiner schools. Became a (self-employed) architect by a disreputably unconventional, indeed unprecedented, route: designing and building, not passing exams. Received six design awards (including a Prince of Wales Award, and Eisteddfod first prize). Pioneered a consensus design method – which, as it depends on knowing nothing, I now use for all design.
Have worked (design, consultancy, lecturing, teaching) in 20 countries (24 if you count Quebec, Texas, Siberia and Kernow as independent). Learnt a few vital words of Russian (No, Dollar) and Californian (No problem, Dollar). Appointed visiting professor, Queens University, Belfast, 2003-8. Eight published books (one translated into German, Italian, Russian, Thai, Chinese and a Spanish translation in process; others into Czech, Greek and Welsh).
Developed MND in 1997 (definitive diagnosis 2000: one-year prognosis). Now, disabled and unable to speak, I continue to write, consensus design (mostly abroad), paint and (silently) lecture. Awarded MBE for ‘Architecture and Innovation’ in 2016.
Paintings: Cymru fy nghalon
I start paintings, not with an image, but with a soul mood. This conjures up a type of landscape, quality of light and of weather – which conveys this feeling. So the painting starts with a colour mood, and only gradually finds form. I don’t think about this, it just happens. None of these places are actual places; they’re all ‘lleodd y galon: places of the heart’. Most are Welsh places, although some are from elsewhere. As I paint, I enter into the spirit of being there – even though they’re not actual ‘theres’. They’re in oil-pastel on canvas-paper, using rags and cotton-buds, not brushes.