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When you see a pile of sticks that constitutes a yurt, it seems incredulous that the pile of sticks can transform into a shelter that is so strong and stable that people can live inside them on the windswept plains of Mongolia and withstand storms, heavy snow and strong winds, yet can be packed up within a couple of hours, slung on the back of a yak, and set up somewhere else that same day. This is my pile of sticks….
and although I don’t have a yak, I have a VW Transporter that my sticks will easily fit inside for transportation. I think my transportation is a whole lot easier, cleaner and less smelly (usually)!
Since I started making my own yurts, my admiration for them has increased ten-fold. Every assembly is different, every component works together to form this amazing, self supporting structure. Paul King describes it perfectly on his website: www.woodlandyurts.co.uk/Yurt_Facts/How_Yurt_Works.html
“In all but the strongest winds the yurt will stand with nothing but gravity attaching it to the ground. This rigidity is maintained by opposing forces exerted by different parts of the frame. The walls are firmly tied to the doorframe to form a complete circle. The conical or domed roof, with its heavy crown exerts a force on top of the walls. This force is kept in check and put to advantage by strong bands tied tightly around top of the wall. These opposing forces give the frame great rigidity, which is further reinforced with the addition of downward pressure from a heavy roof cover and the inward pressure from tight wall covers”.
Opposing pressures which give the yurts its inherent rigidity © Paul King 2001
So THAT is what is so good about yurts, not only are they works of engineering genius, they are also visually stunning, portable, weatherproof, breathable, environmentally friendly and durable. Finally there’s that feeling one gets when sitting inside a yurt that is hard to vocalise. For me, it’s a feeling of peace and calm and contentment and when I’m inside a yurt, I can’t help but smile. Rachel.