Why Round?

Round houses are not a common sight today, even though most, if not all, of our ancestors lived in round structures. All around the world, in many different environments and cultures, people build round houses. The Eskimos have the igloo, the Plains Indians have the teepee, the Mongolians have the yurt, and there are several variations of huts on the African continent, all of which are round. Many of these types of buildings are still used today. Using locally available materials, round structures are the simplest and most economical types of housing to build.

In the natural world and throughout the universe, the circle is prevalent, because it is nature's strongest and most efficient shape. Even time, which we see as lineal, is circular, on an annual basis that we can easily experience, or sometimes in a much longer time frame. Life itself is a constant circular process of birth, death, and rebirth.

Today we build and live in boxes—big boxes made up of smaller boxes. This came about mostly as a result of trying to fit more people into a given space. Houses became boxes as it became more and more necessary to fit one home tightly to the next, all the way down the street. When space on the street ran out, many went in an upward direction, resulting in tall apartment buildings—boxes beside boxes and boxes on top of boxes. Homes are divided into many small areas, unlike in the past, when the family unit all lived in the same common space.

However, round houses are regaining popularity for some of the same reasons that round structures have been used throughout history:

  • The round shape is inherently strong and able to withstand high winds and adverse weather better than square or rectangular shapes. Look around and you will see that when we need a strong shape, we have always used round. A few examples are tank cars, grain bins, and rockets.
  • Round is easier to build—using today's high tech materials to build round homes makes them much simpler to build than their rectangular counterparts. Panels can be made in uniform sizes and the angles are the same all the way around. Round houses built of many flat panels can be easily prefabricated, making on-site construction simpler and faster.
  • The circle is energy and material efficient—to enclose a round shape of equal area to a square or rectangle uses 10% to 15% less material. This means less material cost, less to build, less to maintain, and less wall area to lose heat through. The round structure is more efficient to build and more efficient over its life.
  • Open floor plans—a properly designed round home allows for better natural light and air flow throughout the building, which can lead to an increase in health and comfort just by using the right shape.
  • Convenience—round homes, if designed properly, can be more convenient, with better access between rooms and to the outside from any room in the house. In most cases, space-wasting hallways are not needed at all.


The round shape goes back to our roots and moves us into the future, while always working with the forces of nature and the laws of the universe. Round is the shape of things to come!

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