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SAVE The Last Resort - A Sustainable Model

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The Last Resort is a rare treasure that combines sustainability innovations with architectural and artistic brilliance. As a community resource for education and innovation, plus a highly functional living/working model, it is one of the last remaining integrated ecological environments from the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970’s. Of those that remain, Hoffman’s is among the largest, of longest timespan, and of more resources than any comparable example. The Last Resort is not just a historical resource; its innovations are even more relevant today. To this end, The Last Resort demonstrates many ways to mitigate the challenging and negative effects of climate change.

You Can Help to Save The Last Resort From Demolition!

Your donation will be used toward preservation of The Last Resort in the face of Marin County’s challenge to the artistic and environmental work on the property. The County of Marin has persistently opposed Hoffman’s art, architecture and innovations. The County obtained a court-appointed Receiver to correct the so-called code violations, and the Receiver has obtained a court order instructing him “to take full and sole physical possession” of The Last Resort and “secure sales” of the property. The order also requires Hoffman “to vacate” the property.

Funding is urgently needed to prevent the Receiver from selling the property to a buyer “acceptable to the County,” who will be expected to demolish The Last Resort and replace it with expensive homes. A recent letter from the Receiver states that he “will be taking full and sole possession of the properties on December 2, 2022,” but when he inspected the site on November 21 he indicated he may not take sole possession until the end of December. The clock is ticking and funding is essential to saving this important national, state and local treasure.

How will money help save The Last Resort? The Receiver never put together a rehabilitation plan for the property and lacks the funds to do so. Funds raised through this GoFundMe campaign will be used by The Last Resort’s team to hire specialists to make an analysis for each building, to determine what compliance work is reasonable, necessary, economically and practically feasible, and to develop a building-by-building preservation-based rehabilitation plan. In addition, the ability to raise significant funding through this campaign will facilitate negotiations with the County for a preservation-based rehabilitation plan by demonstrating that preservation of this unique resource is economically viable.

The goal of this drive is to raise $300,000.00 that will be used by The Last Resort’s team toward the specific and identifiable work described above, all of which is necessary for the preservation and long-term survival of the site.

David Lee Hoffman: Creator of The Last Resort


David is an inventor, artist, sustainable pioneer, and builder. Begun in 1973, The Last Resort is a multi-decade labor of love nestled in rural West Marin, California. Conceived, designed, engineered and hand-built by Hoffman, The Last Resort includes over 60 separate buildings, structures, objects, gardens, and orchards, including a Tibetan-inspired tea house and the “Titanic II”, a whimsical boat sculpture in the center of a rain-fed koi pond.  

The “Titanic II” boat sculpture rests on a 30-foot submerged column that contains a hand-dug well with a solar-generated pump that irrigates Hoffman’s onsite, organically grown crops.

And yes, David built these incredible structures with his own hands! Please follow this link for a video detailing how The Last Resort came to be.


The Last Resort is where art, architecture, engineering, sustainability and living history harmoniously come together. Image credit: Les Blank and David Silberberg.

David also designed and built a 100% sustainable water-flush composting toilet system (which he named Le Grand Pissoir). This zero-waste closed-loop system – which uses earthworms and the proven science of vermiculture for bio-digestion – is a vast improvement over the septic systems with aging leach lines common to the region. How does it work: watch A.J. Marson’s short documentary Le Grand Pissoir.

Recent Developments

In 2015, the Marin County Superior Court appointed a Receiver, who was charged with “rehabilitating” the property so it is code compliant. After years of proceedings over whether The Last Resort should and could be preserved, on May 21, 2021, the Receiver obtained a Court order instructing him “to take full and sole physical possession” of The Last Resort and to “secure sale” of the property; the order also requires Hoffman “to vacate” the property. Hoffman appealed this order, but on October 19. 2022 the appeal was dismissed on the ground that this order cannot be appealed. The Receiver has recently sent notice that he “will be taking full and sole possession of the properties on December 2, 2022.” Although the Receiver has since indicated he won’t actually take such steps before the end of December, the situation remains imminent, and if Hoffman is forced off the property, demolition is highly likely.

Funding is urgently needed, or the court-appointed Receiver will proceed with his plan to sell the property to a buyer “acceptable to the county” who will raze the site and replace The Last Resort with expensive homes (median price in the County is $1,657,000). Over much of 2022, Hoffman and a group of close supporters of The Last Resort have been developing preservation-based strategies and plans to protect and maintain Hoffman’s distinctive artistic and engineering vision, plus his demonstratable and fully functioning sustainability solutions.

You Can Help to Save The Last Resort!

If sufficient funding can be obtained to demonstrate that a preservation-based rehabilitation plan is financially feasible, Hoffman and his supporters believe that the County and the Receiver may change their position so that non-profit organizations, such as The Lagunitas Project, can work with Hoffman and his preservation supporters to determine what code compliance work is actually necessary, reasonable, economically and practically feasible to begin bringing specific structures into code compliance in a manner appropriate for these remarkable and historic structures, while preserving The Last Resort's unique character. The goal of this present drive is to raise $300,000.00 that will be used for the building-by-building analyses, reports and preservation-based plans for the preservation and long-term survival of The Last Resort. A tax-deductible option for donation is also available.

It is David's vision that The Last Resort be preserved so it can be utilized as a community resource for:
  • Functioning, applicable, and working environmental solutions that are buildable elsewhere.
  • An educational space to teach the power of a sustainable, zero-waste lifestyle. 
  • A museum displaying David Lee Hoffman’s life’s work, including his pioneering place in the tea world as well as his art, innovations and commitment to sustainable living.
  • An architectural legacy to inspire future generations.
• An inspired space for an artist/writers' residency program.
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In Praise of The Last Resort

Sierra Club: Endorsed The Last Resort

"We feel that Mr. Hoffman is a visionary who has pioneered solutions to climate change. These solutions lie in the very structures and systems that would be destroyed if the commission's unanimous ruling continues to be discounted or ignored. We believe the demolition of this work would be a black mark on the face of Marin County and a significant lost opportunity to protect and preserve this unique site and its historical import, past and future. We don't want to lose The Last Resort." – Judy Schriebman (Chair, Marin Group Sierra Club)


Marin County Architectural Commission: Unanimously voted a “designation of architectural significance for the site in its totality, including all 36 structures, to preserve its intrinsic artistic value as a site of local importance to the history and culture of unincorporated Marin County.” (Regretfully, the Marin County Board of Supervisors refused to act on the designation.)

"David's lifelong work will leave behind a place for our children to go and inspire them to think outside the box. It will show them that they too can pursue their visions of a world, different from what they are taught in school or see in the ordinary built world.”– Terry Nordbye (Marin Architectural Commissioner)


SPACES: An organization dedicated to the study, documentation, and preservation of art environments and self-taught artistic activity. 

“What we try to do is make people understand that this is a genre of work and there is precedent for supporting these kinds of monumental and very idiosyncratic constructions within their midst, so we try to get the local community involved...I understand that there are urban codes and many of those codes are there for a reason, but they have to really expand their view and concentrate on what it brings to the community rather than what it’s taking away.” – Jo Farb Hernandez (SPACES)


The Earth Day Film Fest 2019: included in its 2019 official selections A.J. Marson’s film Le Grand Pissoir, a short documentary film which profiles David Hoffman's creation of a zero waste, self-sustaining, composting toilet that uses worms to digest human waste, noting that this film invites viewers to rethink one of our most-used household systems.


Community: The Last Resort also has immense community support and received over 7100 signatures on a Change.org petition posted in 2017.

“I believe that this place here, The Last Resort, is a gift to the future. It’s a place where people might come in another time and have some kind of refuge and be in an inspired space--this is a gesture to the spirit of ‘let’s create because it’s there to be created’.” – Robbie Long (Artist/Songwriter)

“I think the reason it all works together is that you realize you’re in a special place, a special environment, and it makes you pause and think about what he’s done. It does cast a spell on you and that’s why a lot of people are interested in this place.” – John Torrey (City Planner)

“What makes The Last Resort so important is that it’s a living entity and you couldn’t get rid of anything and have it be the vital whole that it is.” – Richard Lang (Artist/Lagunitas Project Board Member)

“You’re walking into a living sculpture, something that’s alive, that’s art!” Jean Berensmeier (Neighbor/Community Leader)

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Put simply, The Last Resort is a working model of a completely self-sufficient living space that David hopes to share with others, now and for future generations.

Thank You for your support! Let's save The Last Resort and create a better and more beautiful world together.


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Donations 

  • Rudi Dundas
    • $100 
    • 3 d
  • addison mock
    • $100 
    • 10 mos
  • JC Bouvier
    • $30 
    • 1 yr
  • Patrick Simms
    • $5,000 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $75 
    • 1 yr
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Organizer

David Lee Hoffman
Organizer
Lagunitas, CA

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