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Essay on Vernacular Architecture

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Mongolian Ger
For the majority, the region of Mongolia is a high flat landmass with extreme temperature changes, strong winds and low levels of humidity; conditions of a continental climate. This climate brings about great seasonal differences with winter being long and cold while summer is short and warm. The harsh, open terrain of Mongolia is unsheltered from the winds and major storm systems, and as the latitude increases, precipitation is limited to smaller amounts where trees yield to grasslands and treeless plains. The local herders rely on breeding as a resource and do not exploit the land for agricultural purposes. A traditional dwelling suitable for the country’s climate and the local’s way of life is the ger, also know as yurt. Since the locals were regularly moving from one location to another with herds of animals, the ger had to be wheeled by their livestock. However, not long ago theses nomadic houses started being designed in a way to collapse and fold so that they can be transported on animals’ backs and unfolded, returning to their original form, when the herders arrive to their destination (Ministry of Tourism of Mongolia, 2002).
The Mongolian ger has two main constituent parts; a wooden skeletal structure, consisting of the wooden lattice-work walls, straight struts, a roof wheel and supporting posts, and a felt cover. Before the herders migrate over vast expanses of steppes, they construct their house using local materials in places which receive more precipitation. Such a place is Darhad Valley, for example, which provides plentiful amounts of wood, where gers are still the most prominent living quarters to this day. The size of the structure depends on the number of walls making the ger, with each wall con...


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...rom http://www.nickladd.com/downloads/Essays_on_the_vernacular.pdf
Little, B., & Morton, T. (2001). Building with earth in scotland : Innovative design and sustainability. Retrieved from http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/156686/0042109.pdf
Ministry of Tourism of Mongolia. (2002). Mongolia information. Retrieved from http://www.asia-planet.net/mongolia/culture.htm
Ness Historical Society. (n.d.). The ‘Blackhouse’. Retrieved from http://www.c-e-n.org/blackhouse.htm
Oliver, P. (Ed.). (1997). Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World (Vols. 1 - 3). New York, NY : Cambridge University Press.
The Drachman Institute. (2008). House form and culture. Retrieved from http://www.drachmaninstitute.org/sites/default/files/House_Form&Culture.pdf
Wright, K. (2005). Traditional Mongolian ger. Retrieved from http://www.bioregions.org/pdfs/GerOwnersPamphlet.pdf


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