book review: simple shelters

Simple Shelters:
Tents, Tipis, Yurts, Domes and Other Ancient Homes
by Jonathan Horning

Rarely do you get such a small book that feels much bigger than it really is.

This diminutive book, (measuring a mere 6 by 5 inches) with the title ‘Simple Shelters’, is anything but small in content and the shelters are anything but simple. In fact I am thinking of shrinking the size of my coffee table so it does not look out of place.

Throughout its 60-odd pages the illustrations of shelters are wonderfully detailed and clear – both in cross-section, plan and cut-out. It covers a multitude of shelter from primary forms, tensioned coverings, black tents, benders, woven shelters, tipis, kathe, yurts, yarangas, chorama dyu, earth lodges, pit houses, log cabins, hogans, bamboo huts, timber framed buildings, adobe mud brick and straw-bale constructions, igloos and geodisic domes.

Most of the construction techniques from across the globe are covered and, alongside the illustrations, a conversational text about their evolution, history and use is incorporated to give a cultural or practical context.

Whilst a book of this size has no pretence to being a technical manual, many of the illustrations give you an excellent idea as to where to start and how things fit together.

This book would be of great armchair inspiration for anyone interested in the basic principles behind both the tribal and the modern home. But far from being a quick, one-off read I find myself frequently drawn to the little book looking for ready inspiration and marvelling at the simplicity and ingenuity of its designs. Maybe the book should have included the Tardis…but in a way this little book is alot bigger on the inside than out.

Available from Wooden Books or Amazon – £4.79 – £5.99

ISBN-10: 1904263674
ISBN-13: 978-1904263678

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