Thursday, November 6, 2008

I think I want a Yurt.

A yurt is a traditional Mongolian semi-permanent round tent structure used by the nomadic tribesmen as mobile-homes. They would disassemble them and cart them on to the next camp site. They were made from sticks, and hides and cords. They look sorta primitive. Until you look at 20th Century Technology in a Yurt. Like this one:

There are some modern companies out there that produce Yurts.
They have 2-story yurts.

They have winged Yurts.

As an occasional use vacation dwelling, with an eye toward retirement dwelling in a semi-rural or fully rural location, I think this structure has a lot of promise.
I just wonder if I can improve on these designs somewhat.

I was thinking, for the Canadian climate:
A central hearth and fireplace with chimney running up through the center of the dome.

This could serve 3 or 4 purposes at once:

- It could support the roof if excess snow-load occurs.

- It could support some sophisticated water catchment technology that might allow for gray-water natural water utilization.

- It could be built massive - out of natural stone work, with wings out into dividers of the living space (like kitchen island and bedroom/bathroom wall divider - allowing for a large thermal mass, heated by a double-sided fireplace, to warm the interior on cold winter nights.
If a high efficiency 2-sided insert were purchased for this spot, it could burn for 20+ hours on a single charge of fuel.
- It could divide the room and provide some nice eye-candy. Imagine a slate wall with chimney running up through the roof of the Yurt - out of which projects both the Kitchen Island Peninsula and the heated wall dividing the master bedroom and the shower area.
Sounds sexy - in my mind's eye. The other thing I like about the Yurt is that its a very voluminous space in a small footprint. Especially if one adds wings or a second story.

I personally think a sleeping loft above the main great room, with utilities, bath, and part of the kitchen under the loft part, and a double-height living space could be very very sexy. This also has the added benefit of allowing the heated thermal mass dividing wall between kitchen and bath (downstairs) to run the full height (upstairs) dividing the sleeping areas with even more heated stone volume.

I definitely need to think more about this, but if I can get one of these built on a slab heated with geothermal heating, gray water catchment, thermal mass additional heating for really cold times in the winter, this could be a really efficient vacation/retirement home. If I back it with the right insulation, long-life roofing solution, and a decent water purification system, this could almost be the perfect expandable retirement home setup.

Yup. I want a yurt.

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