The Tipi – and don’t ever accuse me of being non-inclusive in my architectural selections – is essentially a portable tent constructed of wooden poles and covered by animal skins. Used frequently by plains native American tribes, tipis were designed to be durable, comfortable in both cold and hot weather, dry and accommodating to the often nomadic nature of the tribes.
Ranging from 12-25′ tall and varying significantly in diameter accordingly (usually according to status in the tribe), tipis were usually wrapped in bison skin and decoratively painted on their exteriors. The skin did not form a complete roof, instead it had a slit above the entrance so that smoke could escape. Whole families could live in a single tip, with a central fire inside keeping them warm.
I would be remiss if I didn’t note that tipis were not unique to Native tribes. They were also used by the Sami people of Northern Europe. The Sami were also somewhat nomadic for reindeer herding.