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Byron Shire
June 15, 2024

Yurt design aimed at social housing crisis

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New Zealand born poet and inventor, Brian Forbes. Photo Jeff Dawson

Think of yurts, and generally lightweight canvas tents come to mind.

Yet Brian Forbes has invented a rotating and elevating yurt, which he says can address the chronic shortage of affordable housing.

And his designs are anything but lightweight.

‘I’ve been building yurts for 30 years’, says the New Zealand born poet and inventor, ‘And I’d like to see this as a social housing solution’.

The rotating aspect of the yurt is used mainly for the building phase, he says.

And while it is possible to rotate the yurt once it is finished (to follow the sun, for example), he says plumbing and electrics would need to be addressed, given they are fixed services.

It’s the elevation aspect; however, that Forbes says can help with providing social housing solutions.

After two floor levels are built together, they are both hoisted up, and the bottom level drops to create the first level. At that point, the structure’s framing and cladding can be added. It makes the building process more streamlined and easier.

It was all explained on ABC’s New Inventors years ago, and his working model is at the Ocean Shores Hub Church, as of going to press.

‘It’s a simple, yet radical departure from tradition, which offers a variety of internal layouts to suit all cohorts. It incorporates tiny house aspects with the principle of maximum utilisation of internal space’.

Forbes says, ‘This was initially designed for older women as co-housing units; the octagonal (full moon) sections can easily be split into two soundproofed self-contained “half moon havens”.’

He says it’s also a ‘door opener for younger folk by utilising the innovative fractional ownership system or rent-to-buy options’.

Forbes is hoping to attract ethical investors to the cause. He added that political avenues to encourage this type of structure, so far, have been unfruitful. Instead, he is taking ‘unilateral action, because an ounce of action is worth more than a ton of talk’.

To get in contact with Brian, email [email protected] or phone 0418 194 268.

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