Friday, 2 July 2010

Thank you Dan Kuehn

Here's a shot of me just before the guest yurt arrived, preparing the site:

If you've read "Mongolian Cloud Houses" by Dan Frank Kuehn, you'll be forgiven for thinking it bears a passing resemblance to page 62:

I forgive you. (See?)

Credit going where it deserves, I'd like to thank Dan for saving us hundreds of euros we don't have, by demonstrating how a yurt platform can be made from earth. (I am convinced this is the building material of the future.) We did splash out a few euros on some sand to make it super flat, and we've topped it off with a plastic vapour barrier and some carpet, neither of which you can see in this shot:

Thanks also for giving me permission to use the image from his book. A bottle of something special will be waiting for you in écovallée any time, served in the kitchen on the right of this shot:

I love how the yurt sits into the hillside from this angle. Even though I say so myself, it's superb.


Dan Kuehn said...

So nice to see my name in your blog! And my book! Frankly, your whole camp is worlds beyond mine - I'm very jealous...
The evolution of the yurt/ger form is very different in Europe, so organic, so natural. In America, yurts have become almost industrial - too much milled wood and metal. Coppicing is almost unheard of here.
The ger I have now is imported from Mongolia, and quite different from either the European or American, to generalize insanely.
One note on your platform, as the rains set in - I'm a little worried about runoff coming down the hill above the platform. Look at "D" in the book illustration, diverting water from the platform. That extra trench will be welcome when the rains are really heavy... It doesn't need to be right at the top edge - maybe it's there, but I don't see it.
Other than that, your efforts go WAY beyond mine - congratulations! Wish i could see it in person, and meet you and your family, roughing it in style.

Alex Crowe said...

Hey Dan - thanks again - this time for stopping by and saying such lovely things.

Becky Kemery's book has lots of photos of modern American yurts. In general they seem to have lost the soul of the structure. Maybe by making a portable building unwillingly permanent (I am especially unkeen on partition walls - and the wire - but maybe that's just me). We can still up sticks in a couple of hours.

Yes. I ummed and ahhed about the "D" trench. I decided the trees would drink much of the water coming down the hill (although this was just an excuse for being lazy). Then I looked again at an ancient trench running across the hill a few metres (yards) uphill from the yurt. And I thought (hope) that should do the job. It's never had running water in it while we've been here.

As to our efforts being beyond yours - no way! You've hand-stitched a yurt cover! Built complete yurts yourself! And you're still living in a yurt!

(There are still ideas from your book I want to explore. Like a raised area for sleeping on - I love the thought of putting a mattress on an earth/adobe bed - perfect for people with bad backs...)

Do come back and see how things progress. I've decided to keep the blog going beyond the actual opening of the campsite this time next week. Until then...

cathy said...

All I can say about it is:


Jo said...

Hey! Is that the book that I bought you? If it is, I'm so pleased that it's so helpful. And doesn't the author sound like a lovely chap?!


Alex Crowe said...

Cathy, thank you. These shots really don't do it justice - you should come over and see it sometime soon.

Jo - yes it is! And yes, he sounds great. Living in a yurt in New Mexico no doubt helps...