Organic Shelter

organic shelter

Shelter comes from the need for sanctuary and protection from the wildness of Nature. Shelter is our second body, driven into existence by hunger and the need for warmth and safety. Her storms, winds and temperatures compel us to build a space to cook food and be human together. The obstacles She presents ultimately strengthen and help us to build relationships and community.

At Organic Shelter, we study and copy Nature and Her ways. We notice that every creature builds their home; it is only we humans who hire expensive contractors to do the job. This is understandable given the exorbitant costs, fees, permits, licenses and mortgages involved. Plus, it can be intimidating to build your own home considering numerous structural and safety standards that must be met.

Nevertheless, carpenters and skilled craftsman do build their own homes. But what about people with no building experience? What about them? Can they build their own home? Can they build their own custom home with no building skills or experience?


As a former contractor with over 40 years of ongoing building experience, I built homes for people who could not do it for themselves. For this I was grateful because I needed to support myself and my family. Yet I soon noticed that the amount of money my clients had to pay to me, the bank, and to the county in order to have a place to live, often left them seriously in debt and exhausted by the time they moved in. Noticing this changed everything for me.

I realized it made more sense to have my clients become the contractor when building their home even when they had no experience.

Here’s why:

Building your own home is empowering. It saves tons of money; you get it the way you want it, and it reflects you and who you say you are. As the owner/contractor, you are responsible for (and to) your vision of what’s possible. Building your own shelter, growing food and cultivating a deep connection with Nature is an act of love. By becoming the owner/contractor you are also empowered because you are actively participating in the Greatness of Existence.

Organic Shelters grow organically. They start out as an idea, a possibility. They attract the light and set down roots. Conceived in your heart, an Organic Shelter germinates and grows. Nature and our ancestors serve to guide us through the Organic Shelter building process. Our goal for your home is to build the best, most beautiful and affordable Organic Shelter possible.

With me as builder and co-conspirator in your project, we navigate the waters that once were the exclusive domain of architects, engineers, contractors, counties, inspectors and banks. We exceed all state and county codes with excellent design, and carefully chosen materials, while also taking responsibility for structural integrity and safety.

How do you envision the Shelter and sanctuary of your dreams?

Cultivate the vision. Let it talk to you. Listen

About Me

I dropped out of graduate school in 1976 and started building a geodesic greenhouse rooftop hydroponic garden in Nashville, Tennessee, because I was working as a cook at the Black-eyed Pea Restaurant and needed lots of fresh vegetables. I figured why should we buy them when we can grow them ourselves? I didn’t manage to actually build the greenhouse and instead went to Kansas City where I worked with visionary architect Matt Taylor. He put me in charge of his Ecosphere project, a spherical. geodesic, greenhouse-bio-shelter and micro-farm that was designed like a biological cell in order to function as a producer of food and energy.

I worked also with the great Sunray Kelley for 30 years experimenting with many types of building methods. In 1993 Sunray and I built the Forrest House on Orcas Island, Washington, (photo at beginning) Our finished projects included the Cascadian Farm Organic Fruit Stand in Rockport, WA, and many other wild-hearted works.

Additionally, we built the Birdsview Brewery located in the “American Alps” at the foothills of the Pacific Northwest’s Skagit Valley. Over the years, National Geographic, MTV, and Better Homes and Gardens featured our Shelters which represent the Greening of Architecture, a movement I consider to be the most important development since the Industrial Revolution.

Work with Me

Now I build custom homes, yurts, tree houses and tiny homes that come with living roofs and decks.

My clients assume the role and function of contractor for their building project. I request this because you are the one with the greatest investment in your vision and the project. You also are the one with the most responsibility for its success. As the owner/contractor you have the power and control over all aspects of the project, and can fire me any time you want. We have no binding contract, only an honorable agreement as professionals to work together.

In meeting the project’s requirements the owner/contractor and the builder both need to be capable and willing to define and assume complete responsibility for their roles. We agree to work with any situation that arises in a way that solves problems quickly, efficiently and effectively. Virtually all building projects have surprises and unexpected developments that can be challenging and difficult. People who spend money and time on a project expect positive results, and when something is missed or mistakes are made, we will need to agree on a method to solve the problem.

I keep my rates unusually low to help my clients keep their costs down, and I don’t carry insurance. Instead, I rely on myself and my clients to pay close attention to the needs of the project, to work hard and smart, and to mediate any and all conflicts that may arise within our relationship. No third party litigation, no law suits, only mediation if we can’t solve the problem between ourselves.

This is my disclaimer since builders are easy targets when things don’t go as planned. If I make a mistake, I will correct it on my time and use it to the project’s advantage, whenever possible.

I have never been fired, only promoted: all of my clients are now friends who recommend me to their friends. Nor have I ever advertised over my 40 years of building projects on a very regular basis.

There are three ways to access my experience and expertise for your building project. Throughout the duration of building your home, I am likely to participate in each of these three positions.

(1) Design: $100 hour

I draw plans for many of my clients.

Some people suggest that I have artistic talent as a designer and builder. I reply that it’s more accurate to say that I am a thief and a plagiarist! I steal Nature’s ideas routinely and marvel at Her intelligence and elegance of design while copying Her every chance I get. All my ideas come through me, not from me; I take no credit for the greatness and beauty of life that inspires me deeply. The love and beauty of Nature results in beautiful ideas, forms and the perfect nests for Her creatures.

The home we build throbs with the life-blood of Nature. She is our heart and where our soul loves to be. That makes design the domain we enter on our knees, on our face. That’s right. The awe inspiring majesty of Nature is the reflection of our human heart. Building homes and cities that respect and reflect Her majesty is long overdue..

I advocate the no-permit, no mortgage, no license, no inspection building process. We can submit plans to the county and get a permit too, if you want. I do it both ways but my overwhelming preference is to do it privately. You choose.

(2) Consultation: $45 hour

If I can’t be there at your project, I can still consult for you and will request a retainer so as to be available as much as possible to answer all your calls. This is especially effective when the client sends me close-up snapshots with their questions.  

(3) Hands-on: $65/hour

This is when I show up in the flesh with my truck and tools. I typically request payment weekly, or a payment arrangement that we otherwise agree to before the project begins.

Additional Important Information

As a builder, I have had to learn the fundamental principles of structure and process. The laws of Nature are so magnificent and precise, how we build can be no less. I take my relationship with my clients very seriously and I am accountable and committed to creating real, lasting value. The clear, well-defined boundaries and responsibilities we establish for ourselves will support and protect us all.

Please feel free to contact me, I look forward to hearing from you

360 393 5663

Robert Cinque

In addition to writing essays like these, Robert Cinque also builds beautiful, affordable and comfortable yurts for homeowners and businesses in the fabulous Skagit County. Throughout the past three decades, his work has included building and installing wood art at local landmarks like the Cascadian Farm Organic Fruitstand in Rockport (WA), the Birdsview Brewery at the foot at “the American Alps” in the Pacific Northwest’s Skagit Valley, and many others. He has worked with visionary architect and organic designer Sunray Kelley for over 20 years on many beautiful projects. Together, they formed Radiant Homes and are actively engaged in the development of the Living Home, the Bioshelter, the no-mortgage, no-permit, food and energy producing home. Their work has been featured on National Geographic, MTV, Better Homes and Gardens, and represents the Greening of Architecture, a movement they consider to be the most important development since the Industrial Revolution. He says: These essays are about “dungeons of mind, the root of suffering, true sanctuary, and the glorious imperative to live intimately with That Which Is Alive As All Things. They are painful, bloody and hard-hitting (the “truth will set you free, but it will piss you off first”). They are designed to destroy what’s false and cultivate what’s real. They are not merely my opinions or philosophy; they are field reports from the underground where the Lie was deconstructed. They are wrecking balls, cosmic insults to vanity and arrogance, bulldozers and firebombs that burn out the tangled underbrush. They are intended to water the Seeds of Life buried under mountains and centuries of false beliefs, inherited “culture” and ego cults, so-called “religions”, including scientism, masquerading as truth. Idols are routinely lampooned and sacred cows are turned into hamburger as quickly as possible. I really don’t mean to offend any one personally. I’m not after them. I’m after the beliefs that are harming them: the Big Lie, the belief in separation from Love and Truth that strangles the heart and creates terrible, unbearable suffering. I love to help create Sanctuary and Shelter. I am a green builder and enjoy showing others how to build a no-mortgage, no-permit bio-shelters that also provide food and energy. cell 360-393-5663

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *