Traditional Mongolian Ger Design Studio 1 Assessment 1, research Lecturer M.Arch Sandra Draskovic Student: Ninjin Khishigdorj 15 October 2012
History of Mongolian Ger The word ‘Ger’ or ‘yurt’ has a meaning of living space and the word is not straightly translated into other languages. This ‘ger’ is ‘home’ in English and ‘yurta’ in Russian. Moreover, the words ‘tent’ and ‘caravan’ are used in explanation of ‘ger’ due to its availability of moving and re- building. Researchers say that Mongolian ger (yurt) is originated from wigwag (ovoohoi). The design of Mongolian yurt has been improved as life style changes time goes by. Ger is the most common necessity for nomadic people and is designed to be persistent at any natural disasters.
Advantages of Mongolian ger: • Persistent in some natural disasters. Its short and round shape helps to stand in strong wind and earthquake. Also if the outer skirt is tied up during flood, a ger can persist and not to be moved by flood water because the walls are settled on the ground.• Space usage. The round shape of a ger is the most suitable for nomadic life style.• Natural lightening. The crown, situated on the top of a ger, is similar to windows, but also it is designed well to manage airflow in a ger. People say that if you sleep in a ger, you can feel yourself as a baby slept in it’s cradle.• Adaptable in climate. Single layered woollen felt (cover) is used in summer to keep cool inside of a ger and double covers can keep heat in a ger during winter. Also, rain protection can be used during rainy season.
Elements of construction 1.Ring, crown or toono 2.Roof poles or uni 3.Walls or khana 4.Door or khaalga 5.Center posts or bagana 6.Floor or shal 7. Waterproof roof or berzin 8. Woolen cover or esgii 9.Rope cover 10.Horse hair rope bands
The yurt frame is an ingenious assembly of well made wooden components, as quick to erect as any tent; but onceup more like a timber–framed building.The yurt is a self-supporting structure; the frame holds its shape with no help from guy ropes or a stretched cover. Inall but the strongest winds the yurt will stand with nothing but gravity attaching it to the ground. This rigidity ismaintained by opposing forces exerted by different parts of the frame. The walls are firmly tied to the doorframe toform a complete circle. The conical or domed roof, with its heavy crown exerts a force on top of the walls. This force iskept in check and put to advantage by strong bands tied tightly around top of the wall. These opposing forces give theframe great rigidity, which is further reinforced with the addition of downward pressure from a heavy roof cover andthe inward pressure from tight wall covers. The yurt has an aerodynamic shape, the wind slips over the structure with minimal resistance. There are no flat or concave surfaces to catch the wind. The yurt will not blow down like an ordinary tent but can, in exceptional circumstances, be lifted by a strong gust of wind through the door. So always peg the yurt down.
The shape of the yurt is very thermally efficient. A large yurt can be easily kept warm using a small wood burning stove down to -5°C without any additional insulation.In Central Asia layers of thick felt keep the yurtwarm as the outside temperature drops well below-40°C.In hot weather the sides can be lifted: warm airrises and exits through the open tono drawing coolair in at the bottom.
The Practical YurtThe yurt is probably the most practical temporary dwelling available, being:Portable,Secure, the yurt can be fitted with a lockable wooden door. Entry cannot be gained even if the canvas iscut.Weather proof, the yurt has proven itself in the harsh climate of central Asia for centuries.Warm in winter, being circular, with a relatively low roof it is easy to heat. Insulating layers can be sandwichedbetween the frame and the cover.Cool in summer, the sides can be rolled up, or removed to admit a cooling breeze. Hot air rises out through theopen tono, and cool air is drawn in.Inconspicuous, despite having ample headroom, the overall height of the structure is low, allowing it to be easilyscreened from unwanted attention.Easy to erect, with a little practice the yurt can be erected or taken down in less than thirty minutes, even by oneperson.Easy to move, if you have pitched your ger in the wrong place, you can, with the help of a few friends, pick up theentire yurt and move it without any need to take it down and re-erect it.Environmentally friendly, coppicing of hazel, ash and willow, to provide poles is good for the tree and woodlandwildlife. All timber is from the local community forest. The yurt is a low impact dwelling, causing no permanentdamage to the land on which it is pitched. It can even be moved every few days to prevent the grass from beingkilled.Long lasting, the yurt can stand outside for several years without harm, if used occasionally it should lastindefinitely. In Mongolia the frame is expected to last a lifetime.Fun!, for children and adults alike yurt camping is a real break from the usual holiday accommodation.
Within all cultures the circle remains the symbol of unity, representing the wholeness of all things and ourinterconnectedness with nature. Shelter by Nomadic people is viewed as a sacred space, and everything inthe Yurt is orientated in the four directions thus acting as a physical compass.
Tradition and EtiquetteHaving been home to the many tribes and culturesof central Asia for millennia a great deal oftraditions, superstition, religious significance andcustom has built up surrounding the yurt.Spiritual significanceTo the Mongolian people the ger is more than justa simple dwelling, in its construction the wholeuniverse is represented: The roof represents thesky and the smoke hole the sun. The hearthcontains the five basic earth elements ofearth, wood, fire, metal, and water (metal in thegrate and water in the kettle). For the Mongols thefire contains the house deity and is thereforesacred, offerings are thrown on every morning. Norubbish is burned on the fire and outsiders shouldnot take a light from it. The two upright roof polessupporting the crown are of symbolic importancerather than a structural necessity.The Mongolian people are predominantlyBuddhist, and a shrine is set up opposite thedoor, people sleep with their heads towards thisaltar
Setting up home The family yurt is usually obtained as a gift from the brides parents on a couples marriage. The frame should last a lifetime, but the felt covers need replacing every three to five years. The yurt is set up with the door facing south. When families camp together during the winter the group of yurts or ail are set in a circle with the opening to the south. The roof poles and crown are carried in through the door, it is considered bad luck to pass them over the wall.The interior furnishings and seating arrangements are alwaysthe same. The altar is placed opposite the door at the back ofthe yurt. The hearth or stove is in the middle of the floor withfirewood or other fuel in front and a low table behind. Thewestern side is the domain of the men, male visitors andhonoured guests sit this side, where saddles, toolsand airag(fermented mares milk) are kept. The women andchildren use the eastern side, whererugs, bedding, food, cutlery, crockery and water are stored.Servants, poor visitors and any sick or very young animals thatneed nursing sit near the entrance.
1 Cotton 2 WoolM IA NTE MR OI NA GL O 3 Horse hairS L I 5 WaterproofU A 4 WoodS NED G E R
MONGOLIAN GER color guideGers come in the six basic colors shown to the right. Orange,red, light blue, dark blue, green and brown. On top of each base color,each yurt component is then decorated with traditional Mongoliandesigns that compliments your base color.Red: A striking color. Often used for temple yurts due to manyBuddhist temples beingpainted red. Can be a difficult color to live with but excellent forcommercial uses due toits striking appearance.Light Blue: Well suited to a yurt in Western Europe. A combinationof the easy to live withand dramatic. Whilst still bringing brightness to the interior of ayurt.Dark Blue: Not a traditional yurt color but one that is popular inthe West. Gives a yurt a"distinguished" feel. Designs tend to be more prominent due tobeing painted on a darkcolor.Green: Again not a traditional color, but perfect if you are going tobe siting your yurt in agreen field environment and do not want your yurt to stand out.Has a very calming effect.Brown: As per green, earthy but can be dramatic as the designswhen painted on a darkcolor do stand out more.