Living in the Round
by Becky Kemery
One of the oldest forms of indigenous shelter still in use today, yurts have exploded into the twenty-first century as a multi-faceted, thoroughly modern, utterly versatile, and immensely popular modern structure whose possibilities are still being explored.
Yurts: Living in the Round takes the reader on a journey that begins with the origins of these remarkable shelters among nomadic Central Asian tribes and leads to Western adaptations and applications of the basic idea. The Mongolian Ger and the Turkic Uy were forerunners of what we now know as yurts.
The defining characteristic of a yurt, ger, or uy is the roof design that provides an open floor plan without the need for supporting posts, beams, or trusses. The roof struts converge to a center ring, with the whole roof pushing down and outward. A rope or cable is wrapped around the outside of the structure to prevent the walls from collapsing outward. The result is balanced tension between the walls and roof, providing a strong roof and spacious interior without central supports. A hole or skylight in the center can allow natural light to filter in from above.
Modern yurts incorporate fabric, vinyl, or wood panel walls and are popular for seasonal use as well as permanent residences, studios, and appealing office spaces. Author Becky Kemery shares her personal experiences from years of living in yurts in both hot and cold climates. She offers practical suggestions for choosing, buying, setting up, and bear-proofing a yurt, along with tips about adding decks, plumbing and incorporating a bathroom. Kemerly also addresses issues regarding building codes, financing, and even insuring yurts.
Yurts is clearly written and packed with beautiful photos of many different yurts of diverse types and purposes. The book includes appendices addressing building codes, wood stove installation, and platform construction, along with a resource guide to yurt plans and companies. Gibbs Smith Publisher. 2006. 146 pages. ISBN: 978-1586858919.