Circle Houses: Tipis, Yurts and Benders

Circle Houses: Tipis, Yurts and Benders

by David Pearson
     
 
Among nomadic peoples, round-shaped homes, echoing natural forms, have sheltered families since the dawn of recorded time. The natural world is filled with circles, but it's surprising how unusual circular houses are in industrialized society. In our disconnected world, the circle has given way to the box.
As David Pearson explains in his introduction, "Like our

Overview

Among nomadic peoples, round-shaped homes, echoing natural forms, have sheltered families since the dawn of recorded time. The natural world is filled with circles, but it's surprising how unusual circular houses are in industrialized society. In our disconnected world, the circle has given way to the box.
As David Pearson explains in his introduction, "Like our nomadic ancestors, many of us have a deep yearning to roam with the seasons and be close to nature and the cosmos. The traditional forms of the yurt, tipi, and bender are the apogee of this experience. . . . Nomadic populations live in some of the most inhospitable and barren regions of the world and this is why they are nomads. Whether it be the deserts of the Sahara and Gobi, the steppes of Mongolia, or the polar tundras, these vast areas are either too hot and arid or too cold and windswept to be cultivated. An African grass-covered hut, a Romany gypsy 'bender,' an Asian yurt, or a Native American tipi are all perfect lessons in appropriate design and sustainable building. Refined over generations, they are simple yet sophisticated, beautiful and comfortable."
Remarkable for their economy, resilience, and portability, these structures have continued to exert a powerful appeal in modern times. And beyond practicality, what the circle dwellers in this book speak of most eloquently is the incomparable spiritual resonance of round homes, which "represent the universe in microcosm: the floor (Earth), the roof (sky), and the hole in the roof (the sun)."
Circle Houses is a fascinating glimpse of tradition meeting timelessness, filled with stories of 21st-century nomads and complete with basic instructions for designing and constructing your own yurt, tipi, or bent-frame tent.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Most library users are interested in homes using traditional construction methods, but comprehensive collections should offer information about alternative technologies. These three titles offer good options. Pearson offers instructions to build yurts, tipis, and benders all dwellings that consist of a collapsible, lightweight frame covered with cloth. Examples range from simple, temporary designs to much sturdier structures appropriate for year-round use. The examples are from all over the world, but brief instructions allow anyone to build a rather exotic structure inexpensively. The Sanchezes provide a wealth of information about the history and techniques associated with the use of adobe, an ancient material common in the Southwest. Twelve plans for both traditional and modern homes are included some of which look surprisingly conventional to the casual observer. This title will be of particular interest to readers in the more arid regions of North America. Mackie, a well-known author and educator of log home-building techniques, shows how to construct a log home in a low-impact, environmentally friendly manner. The homes shown are beautiful, with a great deal of exposed joinery; Mackie's step-by-step instructions and excellent illustrations show how everything is done (the author, who is in his mid-seventies, is still building homes a feat that many half his age would find taxing). These titles are recommended for comprehensive collections or for those with a regional interest in the particular technology covered. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781890132866
Publisher:
Chelsea Green Publishing
Publication date:
10/01/2001
Series:
House That Jack Built Series
Pages:
120
Product dimensions:
8.02(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.37(d)

Read an Excerpt

"A MAN'S TENT IS LIKE A GOD'S TEMPLE."

(Kyrgyz proverb)

Today, many of us share a desire to be free and experience the pleasures of living lightly on the Earth. Like our nomadic ancestors, many of us have a deep inner yearning to roam with the seasons and be close to nature and the cosmos. The traditional forms of the yurt, tipi, and bender are the apogee of this experience and are far more satisfying than any modern Western style tent. Being mainly circular in shape, they bring another dimension to the experience of free living-living in the round. It is difficult to define why circular spaces hold such a special magic and fascination. Maybe it is their natural affinity with the cycle of life-the movement of the sun, moon, and stars, and the cycle of the seasons. Maybe it is some archetypal memory of, and resonance with, former circle homes and round houses of our forebears. Whatever it is, you will be pleasantly surprised at the happy and peaceful effect that circular structures will have on you!

Nomadic populations usually live in some of the most inhospitable and barren regions of the world and this is why they are nomads. Whether it be the deserts of the Sahara and Gobi, the steppes of Russia, or the tundras of the Poles, these vast areas are either too hot and or too cold and windswept to be cultivated and support much population. Human inhabitants have little choice but to live off the scarce resources. These are quickly exhausted, so it is soon time to move or follow animal migratory routes. People living in these conditions have to be remarkably ingenious and adaptable. This is shown in everything they do including the structures they build. An African grass-covered hut, a Romany gypsy "bender", and Asian yurt or a Native American tipi, are all perfect lessons in appropriate design and sustainable building. Refined over generations, they are simple yet sophisticated, beautiful and comfortable.

Meet the Author


David Pearson is an architect and the author of several acclaimed books on natural design, including The Natural House Book, The Natural House Catalog, and Organic Architecture. He is also the author and editor of Treehouses, the first volume in the House that Jack Built series published by Chelsea Green. Pearson lives in London, England.

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