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Name TeamFive
Affiliations Cal Poly Humboldt
Registered 2019
Impact 1,087
Contributions CCAT yurt roof 2019

The purpose of our team is to design and apply our solutions for the renovation of the yurt roof which is located at CCAT, Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, on Cal Poly Humboldt campus. For more information about CCAT:CCAT’s webpage

Team Members: Students enrolled in the Spring 2019 Engineering Appropriate Technology Class 305.

The yurt is a permanent structure at CCAT open to community and students, and it houses several features for comfort and education of appropriate technology. Our goal is to design and build the yurt roof in eco-harmony with the least amount of impact on the environment including the community and Mother Earth. Generations of students and community will be welcomed to use and enhance the space.

Problem statement[edit | edit source]

We will come together to successfully design, build and test an appropriate technology solution that will have a lasting impact within our local and broader communities. Our goal is to not only to build a functioning roof, but also to educate other students and to better ourselves in the process. Also, we will learn how to budget for such a project, consider what kind of future maintenance the roof may need, and determine what is aesthetically appropriate for the location.

From the Team Members[edit | edit source]

We are looking forward to this project, and recommend others in our community to stop by CCAT. If you are not in our area we look forward to your insights and stories. Thank you. For more information about Appropriate Technology and past projects concerning the yurt click here: Appropriate Technology SALIRAJA Yurt Project

Literature Review[edit | edit source]

This is a review of the available literature pertinent to the a specific project.

Past Project History and Nearby Terrain[edit | edit source]

The following includes an examination of the most recent renovation of the yurt roof at CCAT and the surrounding terrain. It’s important to examine the following for reflection about appropriate technology, potential impacts stemming from the terrain, and the educational inputs.

Website Review 1 & 2:

1. The SALIRAJA Yurt Project is the most recent major renovation project for the CCAT yurt roof, and the team provided a helpful page on Appropedia.org. The teams conclusion section is especially useful in explaining: how effective the implementation of lighting changes the atmosphere of the interior, the task of cutting wood boards took a great deal of time and required careful installation, and they mention the challenge of securing material to the beams due to the steepness of the hill where the yurt sits (paraphrased).[1]

Near by Terrain:

2.The yurt is located on a hillside surrounded by a herb garden, an over story, and a nearby retaining wall. There may be a requirement to assess the retaining wall as it is within three feet of the yurt. We are considering the aesthetics of the surrounding terrain, and must educate ourselves about the potential impact; as well if the yurt may be more welcoming if a small space was cleared all around the yurt.

The CCAT Yurt Retaining Wall project website provides several details concerning the construction as well clear photos to view the details of their work. It appears that the wall structure is extensive, and includes a major line of logs which provided extensive height and stability;thus the team decided not to work on the grade or slope of the terrain. We will be meeting with facilities management soon, and the meeting will cover an assessment of the surrounding terrain.[2]

Potential Aesthetics Through Design[edit | edit source]


When considering the aesthetics and durability of roofing materials there is the option of such items as layers of felt, tarps, waterproofed canvas, or even upcycled sails. Traditionally yurts were designed for a region with high winds, cold temperatures, and nomadic lifestyles. The CCAT yurt roof will be a non-traditional design for our location in Arcata, CA. In the following source, I have focused on a canvas covering which can be removed which is a part of the aesthetic and functional use for future cleaning maintenance. The canvas can also be painted an ochre color if necessary per campus requirements, or we can expand on the aesthetics and paint it to resemble the nearby foliage.

Book One:

The design for the roof would be strips of canvas, this could be adopted for other materials, sewn together into “...a pie shape minus one large slice (85).” The canvas would be fitted over the beams, measured, and then sewn into a cone shape. For more lighting and aesthetics, we could add a window which the book suggest using mosquito netting and a sheet of plastic. The window would be sewn flush to the rest of the canvas. Though this would require us to cut into the wood boards so the light could shine through. According to the book, the skylight would have to be in place or designed prior to the canvas roof being installed. In this book the design overview for the roof is laid out clearly, provides sewing techniques, and presents itself as an affordable aesthetically pleasing option. [3]

Book Two:

In order to maintain the aesthetics and functionality of the roof it will need to be treated for waterproofing. The following books provides guidelines on waterproofing, but we would replace the recommended water sealant with lime or another environmentally friendly sealant.

The book suggest saturating the canvas in the sealant, and if the canvas is on its frame a long-handled roller may be used to coat the canvas. Depending on the smell of the sealant, the author suggest waiting to use the yurt for 36-48 hours. There are great details in the roofing design which provide an outline for the construction of the skylight hole and covering. Instead of replacing the glass bottles, we may include a window on the canvas or include a structure inside the yurt which would be placed below the skylight to reflect the entering light. [4]

Peer Reviewed Article:

In reviewing the aesthetics of yurt design there is the potential to educate about the original designs of a traditional yurt to learn how it can be adapted for non-traditional design; and to review the environmentally friendly design potential.

The following peer reviewed article Study on Mongolian Yurt Features and Its Environmentally Friendly Design provides a strong outline of traditional Mongolian housing which often features ‘biologic materials;’ and it speaks of it’s appropriate structure for its environment which is a concept housed within our appropriate technology studies. A review of the article educates the designer, user of the yurt, and informs the project purpose of building and modeling environmentally friendly community spaces.[5]

Lighting[edit | edit source]


Building Materials/Design[edit | edit source]


The concept of the yurt was created by the Mongolian people, who had created it to be portable. It was essentially a round tent that was made out of wood and covered in wool or furs. The yurt was built this way because at the time of its creation the Mongols were nomadic people, and the design of this structure fit their lifestyle well because it was very portable and could be setup and taken down in a quick manner. Over time, cultures began to adapt the yurt to be more stationary, using heavier woods and making the roofs and coverings more permanent, by using materials such as metal for the roofs. Since the yurt was first introduced to the modern United States in the 1960s[7], they have become increasing popular not only as temporary and portable living spaces, but also as more permanent places for people to live[8]. Because yurts are designed originally to be portable and not very invasive to the surrounding area[9], we have set our sights on some possible materials we could use that would allow for simple maintenance of the yurt roof, as well as being portable and removable as well. We feel that fabrics that are weatherproofed would serve well as a roof for the CCAT yurt, such as fabrics that are used in yurts that are setup at campsites. These fabrics are very thick and are good at keeping heat in while keeping the weather outside. But, since the yurt at CCAT is more "stationary" than a Mongolian style yurt, we also have looked into materials that would be suited for long term that are also durable and easy to maintain and clean. For example, large pieces of metal sheet that can be formed and shaped might serve well as a roof, seeing as how the wholeness of it would decrease the existence of cracks and spaces between shingling in the roof, as well as being simpler to take down as one whole piece rather than pulling up multiple, smaller pieces of metal in order to clean or repair only one part. The large pieces of metal can also be painted to abide by Facilities Management's preference of having a red roof. However, a lot of campsites in California use the fabric yurts in this way, setting them up on wooden decks and throwing the fabric/tarp over a wooden skeleton, and taking them down to wash and repair all without jeopardizing the structure and soundness of the building itself.[10]

Education[edit | edit source]

“The analysis showed that on the characters of masteration on structure and material of conventional Mongolian yurt,we can take advantage of the Green Design theory to guide our designation.Thus,our living environment can be preserved properly and sustainable development can be realized.“ [11]

Project Evaluation Criteria[edit | edit source]

The following Criteria will be used as guidelines for our project. *Criteria chosen based on the suggestions of the project coordinator from CCAT. The scale (1-10) represents the importance level of meeting the constraint of each listed criteria.

Criteria Constraints Weight
Durability The yurt roof should be able to withstand weather conditions in Arcata, CA., and it should always be safe for people to be under or around the roof. It should not have any leaks. 10
Aesthetics The lighting inside the yurt should be sufficient for comfortable use, and the design of the yurt should match its environment as much as possible i.e should be appropriate to the location. 7
Maintenance Must be free of maintenance for at least two years. The yurt roof should be assessed once a year. Assessment should include cleaning the roof once a year. 8
Cost Must not exceed budget. No more than $100 should be spent on non-up cycled materials. 8
Education The yurt roof renovation should continue to be a good model for alternative building materials, there should be a small notebook placed in the CCAT library which informs about the yurt roof project, signage should be included such as a welcome sign, and signage should be included which informs about the positive environmental impact of a yurt. 7

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Hopmans, T., McCain, R., Pastel, L., & Segin, S. “SALIRAJA Yurt Project.” Appropedia, <https://www.appropedia.org/SALIRAJA_Yurt_Project> (Feb. 20, 2019).
  2. Diankov, I. & Kato, A. “CCAT Yurt Retaining Wall.” Appropedia, <https://www.appropedia.org/CCAT_yurt_retaining_wall> (Feb. 20, 2019).
  3. Star, Blue Evening. (1995). Tipis & Yurts: Authentic Designs for Circular Shelters. Lark Books, Asheville, North Carolina.
  4. Kuehn, Dan Frank. (2006). Mongolian Cloud Houses: How to Make a Yurt and Live Comfortably. Shelter Publications, Inc, Bolinas, California.
  5. ZHANG, Xin-Hong, and B. A. I. Yu-Tong. "Study on Mongolian yurt features and its environmentally friendly design." DEStech Transactions on Materials Science and Engineeringicmsea_mce (2017). <http://www.dpi-proceedings.com/index.php/dtmse/article/view/10855> (Feb. 20. 2019).
  6. “Yurt Notes & Calculator.” SimplyDifferently.org: Helix Zome, simplydifferently.org/Yurt_Notes?page=6#Storm%20Preparation
  7. Gunther, Shea. "Yurts: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask." MNN - Mother Nature Network. May 31, 2017. Accessed February 21, 2019. https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/blogs/yurts-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-but-were-afraid-to.
  8. Apak, Kerimcan. "Modernization of The ‘Yurt’ Tensile Structures." International Conference on Adaptable Building Structures, July 03, 2006. Accessed February 19, 2019.https://www.irbnet.de/daten/iconda/CIB10932.pdf
  9. Róna-Tas, A. "BodunundElim Frühmittelalter." Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 56, no. 1 (2003): 57-79. doi:10.1556/aorient.56.2003.1.4.https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/23682763.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A22d13ede9e600b3a1a4480f5bb57798b
  10. Xin-Hong ZHANG, Yu-Tong BAI. "Study on Mongolian Yurt Features and Its Environmentally Friendly Design." DEStech Transactions on Social Science, Education and Human Science. 2017. Accessed February 21, 2019. http://www.dpi-proceedings.com/index.php/dtmse/article/view/10855.
  11. http://web.archive.org/web/20180418033713/http://en.cnki.com.cn:80/Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-NMGM200901023.htm
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