April 8, 2003

The skeleton of the yurt is complete and in place. Stability is provided by a steel cable that runs around the top of the lattice wall. Without it the weight of the rafters would push the top of the wall outward and collapse the yurt. Its function is similar to that of the flying buttresses of a medieval cathedral. The rafters hold up a wooden ring about 5 feet in diameter. The ring will support a clear dome that can be opened for ventilation. Putting the ring in place was tricky and required four people. The rafters are joined to the ring by pins; their notched lower ends rest on the steel cable. There are no nails or screws and no glue in this part of the structure, which means that it can be disassembled in a day as easily as it was erected (though it will not be). In spite of this temporary quality the building is stable and strong.

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