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Building


The most common forms for temporary buildings:
  • tipi
  • yurt
  • diverse domes

they all have rather are simplistic, portable and more or less comfort depending on the interior extensions.


Tipi


The tipi we consider as spring to fall shelter, as the thermal insulation for the winter is quite an overhead and less suitable, unless one uses furr extensively.

The tipi is rather simple to transport, one big one piece canvas for the cover, and the poles, which can become quite long (e.g. > 7m) and an overhead to transport. As it is suggested the poles should be 1 to 1.5m longer than the diameter of the tipi, I personally yet consider 0.50m more sufficient, then a separate cover for the pole junction can be applied so no rain water will leak anymore into the inside of the tipi.

Simplicity
Portability
Comfort
The tipi is amazing simple, a set of straight poles and one canvas with an optional inlining; to errect and take down a tipi is simple. The portability is very good, except when you have very long poles. The comfort isn't that great due the reason mentioned, the thermal insulation isn't doable very easy and so a lower rating on the comfort.

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Yurt


Much more suitable for a full year habitat is the yurt, you can insulate it quite well, and is very portable. One must pay close attention that "original" mongolian yurts come with felt which leaks rain water, and in more wet climate zones (such as central Europe) it requires a 100% waterproof rain cover.

The yurt is very light in weight, and in particular when bamboo for the wall and roof poles is used. The thermal insulation can be felt, or quilted blankets filled with straw, hemp or shredded treebark, or for low-budget bubble wrap does it as well til -5°C only (4 layers), and keeps the interior of the yurt daylight bright. More information you find in the resource links or in my yurt diary .

Simplicity
Portability
Comfort
The yurt is rather simple in the construction, but in the planing some calculations are required unless you go for predefined and precalculated numbers (see my yurt notes with calculator). The portability is excellent, e.g. 20m long lattice wall can be compressed to 1m width, and then still be rolled - indeed the highest rating. The comfort is great as well, with suitable thermal insulation suitable as four season habitat.

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Dome


Right now I'm still developing light weight portable domes, for 1-2 persons with 6.4m diameter (32m2 floor area) with bows (e.g. the star dome with thermal insulation, door and skylight).

During the next months I will be able to report more experiences on this form (see also my diary on building a geodesic dome). Current status (March 2007) is that I erected the dome skeleton as a test.

Simplicity
Portability
Comfort
The dome can be implemented in many ways, e.g. a geodesic dome composed by triangles is challenging to calculate and build, especially if not a canvas is used to cover it. A dome done with bows is much easier to plan and implement, and very simple to errect and take down as well, and the portability is very good in that case. The comfort, if done with thermal insulation like with the yurt, is alike excellent.

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Finished Buildings & Kits

If there is demand we will facilitate workshops or sell kits ourselves. Otherwise see following list:

Tipi

Yurt

Various Forms

  • USA: PacificDomes.com (USA), beautiful geodesic domes
  • Switzerland: Archadom.ch , manufacture beautiful dome tents, also sell yurts but how far they are suitable for full year usage is unknown
  • Germany: DerTon.de , dome builders, wood and tent-like

Books

  • "The Indian Tipi, its history, construction, and use", 2nd Edition by Reginald & Gladys Laubin ISBN 0-8061-2236-6
  • "The complete Yurt handbook" by Paul King , ISBN 1-899233-08-3
  • "Mongolian Cloud Houses", Dan Frank Kuehn , ISBN 0-936070-39-0
  • "Shelter", by Lloyd Khan , 1973, ISBN 0-936070-11-0
  • "Home Work, Handbuilt Shelter" by Lloyd Khan , 2004, ISBN 0-936070-33-1

If you have experiences or hints on this topic, please contact us so we can include and extend the information here.


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