“I’ll huff, and I’ll puff….”
As I was working on my build/design project with the Sky Yurt, one big issue kept churning around in my mind – the power of the wind. I knew from sailing just how powerful the wind can be. On a sail, as the speed of the wind increases, the force on the sail increases exponentially.That’s why almost all boats have sails can be reefed and the sails have lines (sheets) so they can be depowered and lines (halyards) so they can be dropped completely. I began to look on the web for tent structures similar to the Sky Yurt – I wanted to see how professionally engineered structures dealt with wind forces on a large expanse of fabric. There are some huge fabric structures – most of these are tied to steel masts set in concrete and looked beefy enough to dock the Von Hindenburg zepplin. Way out of my league.
Gone with the Wind
One big concern was the fact that I really couldn’t find any-tent like structures that were set up like the Sky Yurt – none at all. I found tree houses well-secured to trees and structures built on slopes with some space underneath, but nothing that was trying to combine a large umbrella like work space with a living quarters above. It just might be that if similar structures were built, they were impossible to secure against strong winds, and blew way or were quickly abandoned. Working on dealing with wind forces was going to be a major challenge – and maybe would scuttle the whole project.
I also knew that tent structures could be hot. Fabric can trap solar energy and hold on to it. We had an old army tent as kids and it could be stifling in the summer. I had to make sure the whole structure wouldn’t blow away, but also make sure that the air could escape from the workspace without congregating in the upper yurt. I also wanted decent airflow in the yurt itself. I had a sense that if I could design the shelter to be secure in strong winds, that solutions to the ventilation issues would suggest themselves. I started to look on-line for earth anchors and tie down straps, the kind they use to keep small planes from blowing away when parked on the ground. The project was getting more complex, more challenging and more exciting.