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Isolated in Yakutia

2014. december 10. - Szilagyi Aron

screen_shot_2014-12-10_at_8_04_09_am.png Actually this post is about how to build your house, how to isolate it when you happen to build a house in Yakutia. Let me stress out right at the beginning that I am not an architect, I have never built a house (ok, one for my dog) anywhere, so this is just to describe my quick reflections of the differences and interesting stuff that I saw in Yakutia. Oh, and don't take me serious.


The best solution if you build your house right on a gas-field, so heating will be solved. Actually it's quite hard to avoid it in Yakutia as there are many gas-fields there, therefore there is a big thermo center (or whatever you call it) just outside the cities, where they burn gas, heat water and pipe it to the houses. The hot water comes in to the flats in pipes with ca. 10 cm. You see the 40 cm hot water pipes all over the country running a meter above the ground. It's just not possible to run the underground. They are isolated, but even where the isolation is missing, the snow won't get melt on it, as it's so bloody cold outside. Oh yes, and build your house on concrete pillars, otherwise it will sink down to the permafrost during the years.


The hot water in the shower has a super temperature, at least I like it. It is extreme hot with big power, so if you are not cautious, you can burn yourself. Also, if you light the gas on the oven, it is like a jet engine, the pressure is so high and the gas is so thick. 

So, most of the houses have a kind of sluice-system to isolate the apartment from the outer world. In block houses first you enter the first chamber, then the door shuts behind you (mega springs help). Here its just a bit warmer then outside. Then you open the next door, enter the next chamber, where its still cold, but a bit warmer. The door slams behind you and you open the next one. Now you entered the staircase. Here its above zero. You walk up the stairs and open the door to the corridor, then you open the door to the last chamber that is before the actual flat. There are two flats opening from that little hall. The temperature is quite normal there. Then you open the door of your flat and you are home.


All the windows have minimum double layers. Most flats have covered, but unheated balcony. People use this as a fridge, as its only minus 15-20 on the balcony. 

Other houses are built of log. They are also heated with gas/hot water. All the pipes are running outside the wall (obviously the inner side). Most of the doorsteps are high as the cold air flows in on the floor. It is very frequent that the doors are isolated with very thick felt. 


The homes, houses, institutes are overheated. The temperature inside is over 25 C. So, whenever you enter somewhere, you have to take off your coat immediately. There are hangers, cloakrooms everywhere. 

Whenever you open a direct door to the cold outer world, the humidity in the air immediately freezes and flows into the room. It looks like smoke.


These circumstances are really extreme but the local architecture and planning have well adapted to it.

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