So, I realized that I subtitled this blog “Thoughts about everything from cooking to yurts to Jesus” and I haven’t yet mentioned yurts at all. I’ve been talking to so many people about them in person that I keep forgetting to write something.
For those of you who don’t know (as I didn’t just a few months ago), a yurt is a round structure based on several types of houses used by nomads in Asia. The basic design is a circular lattice all with a door frame topped by roof beams that attach to a center ring. Traditionally, the wood frame is covered by felts. Modern yurts use architectural fabrics and NASA-inspired insulation, or permanent walls.
I’ve always been drawn to round spaces: Hobbit holes, gazebos, outdoor spaces with curved hedges or plants for “walls.” Looking back though one of my sketch books, I realized I was dreaming about yurts even before I had any idea that’s what they were called. This sketch is from a dream I had and features a little fairy house topped by a hibiscus flower.
Why yurts? Maybe it has something to do with what yurt designer Morgan Reiter said in the book I just finished reading.
Shortly after I started to build yurts as a business, we did a home show where we set up a demonstration yurt. People would walk in, look around, and then comment on how good it felt. I remember a woman leaning over to her husband and saying, ‘I love the way this feels!’ it was the first time I’d ever seen a building produce an emotional reaction.
When we’d do a home show with rectilinear models, people would make comments like ‘love your work, nice lines’ or ‘nice trim work,’ but we’d never get an emotional response. I realized that conventional construction can look nice, but with the yurt there is a ‘feel.’ an epiphany of sorts.
Maybe people really do feel more comfortable in places with curves instead of angles. After all, God didn’t create many things with harsh angles in nature. Rivers curve, trees have round trunks, even the earth is a sphere. Rocks and mountains can have sharp angles, but I don’t really think they feel very cozy.