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The Man Who Kicked Off America’s Yurt Craze

Bill Coperthwaite credited with popularizing Mongolian dwellings stateside

Architecture By
A woman backcountry skiing on Red Mountain Pass, Silverton, Colorado.
(Kennan Harvey/Getty Images)

Yurts are cylindrical homes commonly used among nomadic groups in Mongolia. Since the early 1990s, though, this style of dwelling has also been a trendy alternative in America. Popular for their easy construction, yurts are often found at national parks or festivals like Burning Man or Coachella. Bill Coperthwaite, a Harvard graduate, is attributed with popularizing the American yurt. Atlas Obscura‘s Peter Andrey Smith details Coperthwaite’s contribution to the yurt movement in this article.