Circle Dwellings

I live in a circular house.  Well actually it's a dodecagon (12-sided).  When we were building it, the kids HAD to know what a 12 sided structure is called, so we looked it up.

The circle is the most common and resource-efficient shape in the universe.  It's also an inherently strong shape, as is evident by its wide use in the building of storage tanks, train cars, grain bins, rockets, etc.  

So why not live in one?  Perhaps the question should be, "Why live in anything else?" 

Take a look back in history and you will find that what we commonly think of as a 'typical' dwelling is only a relatively recent development in housing.  When humans began building shelter for themselves, it's possible that they were simply imitating other creatures or observing what already existed in nature.  The circular shape was easy to make.  Structural supports could be made to support each other and skins or grasses could easily be laid over the shape. Wind and rain resistance could readily be obtained without corners to cover and seal.

Round or polygonal (many-sided) buildings were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans, through medieval and Renaissance Italy, in Russia, northern Europe and into colonial America. Thomas Jefferson and Frank Lloyd Wright were among the many in more recent times who favored this building shape.

A building's shape is reported by energy experts to be the first important factor affecting energy consumption. A round building has about ten percent less wall area exposed to the elements than a square building of equal floor area. The savings approach fifteen percent when comparing a round to a rectangular shape of equal area. A round building's reduced wall area means additional savings when you consider that ten to fifteen percent less exterior wall needs to be paid for and built initially. The same applies to the foundation walls and footings required. Taking all into account, savings in initial building costs and future energy costs can be substantial.

Why don't we see more round dwellings?   It takes a bit of thinking outside the box (pun intended) to come up with a good design for the interior rooms in a circular building.  But there are some great designs out there.  Circular homes are perfect for you if you like open floor plans and efficient use of space. 



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