The Norden Blog

An intimate look into life on the Tibetan Plateau around the Norden Camp

Building log cabins

Norden began by housing its guests in yak hair, and after a year of just those, Yidam decided to explore further and create an interior that would offer more shelter and could be used longer into the season. He looked at another traditional dwelling, used in the forest areas of Kham and Kongpo; the log cabin.

The only examples of log cabins he found made for quite simple living, but he took it as a base, and with a local builder, nicknamed ‘Apple’ for his red cheeks, went on to design the contemporary Tibetan log cabin, complete with a deck and a small attached dry toilet.

Apple had never built a log cabin, but putting to work his skill as a wood builder, he soon came up with a solution that was attractive, saved on the wood, pine farmed in Manchuria and available locally, and was properly insulated. The result is a mix of East and West, with large windows and in some cases, skylights, where one wakes up to the birds, who noisily hop on the roof and build their nests under the eaves. The cabin is elevated on tires to keep it dry, with enough space for sheep to snuggle under, though this only happens off season when the animals are back in the ‘lowlands’ (3200 meters)