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Anatomy of a yurt

Let’s dig a little deeper into the elements that make up a yurt. The yurt has been perfected over millennia to be an extremely efficient building that relies on compression and tension for its strength. Each ingredient plays a crucial part in this recipe. We’ll start from the bottom to the top.

  • Base: Because of their nomadic origins, yurts were traditionally built directly on the ground. As yurts got bigger and more sophisticated, bases were introduced to allow for elevated flooring. These bases vary quite a bit but are typically made out of wood.
  • Lattice: The crisscrossing lattice walls begin as compressed sections made out of wood or bamboo. During yurt construction, the lattice expands to become a full-length wall. Their angled construction distributes the weight of everything above it down to the base below.
  • Rafters: The equally spaced rafters are what make up the frame of the roof. The rafters in modern yurts are typically made of dimensional lumber.
  • Compression Ring: The heart and soul of the yurt. At the apex of the roof, the center ring is what all the rafters attach to. The weight and load of the roof is partially distributed to the ring keeping the entire structure erect. The ring is often covered by a clear dome skylight.
  • Cover: The wrapping for this very special gift. The covers for the yurt have evolved drastically over the last century. What was typically made of canvas with felt insulation, is now produced with modern materials like water-proof vinyl and reflective foil insulation.

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