The latest in LIGHTBARS …

February 15th, 2011

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LIGHTBAR enables my inexplicable obsession with temporary architecture once again this year. But I hope this time I’ve built something that will last.

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It’s very much a Yurt, nothing exotic to the hill-hippies of rural Oregon.  It’s about 25 feet in diameter. I spent all January building it, using my friend Ross’s lovely bamboo and whole bunch of parachute cord.  The walls and roof are held together with a knot that holds the poles rigidly together when expanded, but leaves them loose when folded, so they bundle up nicely for transport.

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Unlike some yurts, there’s no real door per se. The wall lattice is the lowest possible frequency; you can step right through it. So really the whole thing is made of doors. We can open as many as we like by adjusting the skin. Skipping the door-installation and wall-joining steps makes wall setup a sixty-second process — lightning fast!

The roof — hey, isn’t that a bicycle wheel? This design is experimental, non-Mongolian, looks fabulous but is somewhat awkward to raise and lower. We cart around a tripod crane to make it easier. Our bartender and handyman Maitland, and other hardworking LIGHTBAR volunteers, have turned the roof-raising process into an Extreme Sport. Nevertheless, it takes way longer than i’d like. Research continues in this area.

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The poly-tarp skin keeps with the LIGHTBAR tradition — in fact, it’s the same hunk of plastic we started with six years ago. Three cheers for my lovely wife and yurt-seamstress Gesine, who tailored the rectangular tarp to perfectly fit the circular building! Sewing a 25-foot tarp in your living room takes skill, stamina, concentration and a good quantity of cheap red wine. These photos aren’t doing justice to the results. More photos soon!

This fireplace wins! LIGHTBAR has been a bit chilly in the past, but now we have central heating. A repurposed washing machine basket makes a perfect fireplace — easy to start, easy to feed, radiates tons of heat while keeping actual flames contained.

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