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Back to basics: Life in a yurt

A lake-side home is often associated with peace and quiet, closeness with nature and an abundance of creative inspiration – and many people harbour dreams of living by the water for precisely these reasons. But one young couple from Bratislava had a unique vision in mind for their lake-side dwelling: Inspired by the camp sites at America’s Burning Man Festival, they wanted to create a round living space with the light and airy look and feel of a tent.

For architect Peter Jurkovič, the yurt – a traditional tent used by Mongolian nomads – was the perfect source of inspiration for this new project. Yurts are built around a wooden frame, with cloth and felt hung to construct a tent. Alongside their characteristic round shape, traditional yurts are associated with a nomadic lifestyle and are designed as a temporary base: They can be dismantled and packed up for transport to a new location quickly and easily.

From tent to contemporary home: The dream living space

Round spaces create a feeling of peace and calm and encourage a minimalist lifestyle – after all, it’s pretty impossible to push an object out of the way or hang something on a wall in a yurt. This ‘back to basics’ charm is what makes the yurt so attractive as a living space even for non-nomadic lifestyles.

“A round space has unique characteristics”, says Jurkovič. “You use it and structure it in a different way.”

It was exactly this special atmosphere that attracted the new owners to the concept: Their home needed to serve not only as a private space for rest and relaxation, but also be spacious enough for them to host inspiring workshops and meetings.

A visit to a Mongolian yurt. Sorce: Exploring Alternatives / YouTube

Peter Jurkovič – the master of minimalist

Up-and-coming young architect Jurkovič founded his studio JRKVC in Bratislava in 2013. Together with his team, he focuses on “small spaces” and has garnered international attention with his clever design solutions, which strive to maximise quality of life in minimalist spaces. With subtle architectural flair and an innate understanding of the space, Jurkovič’s projects are among the most fascinating to emerge from the contemporary Slovakian architectural scene.

A round peg in a square hole: How the yurt was transformed into a home

“The main challenge with round homes”, according to Jurkovič, “is that you have to incorporate all of the essential basic facilities – the kitchen, bath, bedrooms etcetera – into ancillary buildings. Or you have to build a really huge space.” But side buildings were out of the question in this design – and the size of the structure was limited by the small plot on which it was to be constructed. A fundamental rethink was required.

The architect’s solution is as pragmatic as it is brilliant: He constructed the round central space inside a rectangular box, creating corners that could be used to house all of the facilities a home needs without impacting on the unique experience that the living space offers. In one corner, two bunk beds are tucked away behind a door; another corner houses a kitchen that can be concealed behind a louvre panel.

Wooden frame and external shell: An aesthetic nod to the yurt

Although Jurkovič designed the majority of the interior fittings himself, the key pieces of furniture in the living space were created by the clients – and of course, they’re also round. A large, low table surrounded by pouffes forms the heart of the home, positioned centrally beneath a large circular skylight. Apart from a stove, there is virtually nothing else in this minimalist room.

Although the traditional round shape isn’t visible from the outside of the structure, the wooden lattice frame and black insulation plastic covering are a clear nod to the nomadic design that inspired this home. The “AnuAzu” project did not require traditional foundations to be laid: The building rests on a bed of gravel-like pressed glass.

The yurt was built for living, workshops and trainings.
The yurt is close to the sea.
A yurt like a mongolian home.

Living in a yurt - would that be something for you? We are looking forward to your comment.

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