Claire L Cardwell in The Naked Architect, Professions, Workers, Careers, Architects and Technicians Writer (The Naked Architect) • Blue Designs (+27 82 399 0180 / +27 66 232 3676 - WhatsApp) Jun 28, 2018 · 4 min read · 3.6K

Why Round Buildings are Better

Why Round Buildings are Better

I've been doing some research into Resilient Housing, right from the start I was convinced that a round house would be the way to go.  Our Ancestors often built round houses - take Igloos, Teepees, African Mud Brick Huts, Yurts and European Roundhouses for example.

                                                       European Round House

                                                African Round House

                                                Celtic Round House

                                                                            African Round House

                                      Navajo Round House

Round Houses have many benefits :-

1.  Less embodied energy

Of any shape a circle has the shortest boundary relative to it's area.  A round house has less wall length, thus fewer materials are required to built it.  15 - 20% less material is needed to create the same size building compared to a rectangular design...

2. More Energy Efficient

As a Round House has a lower surface area relative to floor space when compared to a rectangular building, this means that as there is a reduced area exposed to the weather outside it will take less energy to heat / cool the interior.  Round Houses are also more aerodynamic and so admit fewer draughts.

"A round home is more energy efficient than a conventional rectangular home because there is less dead space (i.e. corners) for cold air to collect and there is less drafting because the wind diffuses around the building rather than catch a large solid wall." - Francois Massau, Round House Builder

3. Earthquake and Wind Resistant

A Round House has dozens of interconnected points which give it a unique combination of flexibility and strength - qualities that make them significantly stronger than rectangular buildings during earthquakes.

Winds and Tsunami waves move naturally around a round building rather than getting caught on corners.  A rounded roof also avoids 'air-planing' where strong winds can lift the roof structure off the building.

...the superior aerodynamic behavior of the Roundhouse reduces the wind pressure load acting on the building to its minimum -- less than half (!) that of a square building (center) and much less than irregular building forms (right), making the RHT's round form the most effective, least expensive to withstand high winds.
Eli Attia, Architect & Round House Designer

4. Cheaper to Build

Round Houses cost significantly less to build than rectangular ones.  They use less materials for the same floor area and are faster to build.  The lower exterior surface area also means that Round Houses are cheaper to maintain.

5. Better Acoustics

Sound waves dissipate as they wrap around a building, thus shielding the interior from loud noises outside.  The curve also softens sounds inside the building, so a Round House is the perfect place to rest or for socialising and listening to music.

6. Natural Climate Control

A Round House will capture breezes from all directions, and also ensures an even and constant ventilation throughout the home.

7. Maximum Day Lighting and Solar Energy

You will have even, optimal exposure to daylight and solar energy throughout the day; as at all times the sun's rays are perpendicular to the Round House exterior wall.

8. Round Houses are incredibly flexible.

You don't have to have round rooms in a round house, you can have conventional rectangular rooms with the benefit of panoramic bay windows.  As interior walls do not provide any load bearing/structural support or a service function (water, waste, electricity) room layouts in a Round House can be endlessly customised.

 “Circular living provides a balance of looking inward and outward, looking out at the natural environment and surroundings but then coming in again to the self and the hearth.”
David Raitt, Yurt Builder
When Hurricane Charley hit Port Charlotte, Florida in 2004, Roger Magill took refuge in his round, wooden house during the storm.  Magill was surprised to find his home was the only one in the neighbourhood that emerged unscathed after the storm.  Apparently a house opposite lost it's roof and his neighbours suffered 51% damage to their home.

Furnishing Round Houses can be quite tricky...

However furniture mostly floats away from the walls (whether your house is round or rectangular), it's just a question of fitting a curved counter top in your Kitchen...

You could say that a Round House has 'Curve Appeal'...

Call Claire - 011 025 4458 

 I love Architecture. I think it's vital to talk about all aspects of Architecture - whether it be planning, construction, design or green building. I have written 3 E-Books & over 110 articles. Please feel free to let me know if you have any queries regarding architecture, planning & construction & I will assist you.

I am originally from the UK and moved to South Africa in 1999.  I started Blue Designs in 2004 after working as a driver for Avalon Construction on a luxury home in the Featherbrook Estate.  In my spare time I am an artist and writer.

I've started two new Hives - please feel free to join!

Other Articles I have written include :-

Building Green?  Here are some tips.

Common Mistakes People make when Designing a House

The Advantages of Sustainable Building

Considering Buying or Renovating a Heritage Home?  Pros and Cons

Renovation vs New Construction - which is Greener and Better for the Environment?

Bizarre Buildings Part Two - Space Age Fantasy

Weird and Wonderful Buildings Part Three - Three Buildings that make Music

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#Clairecardwell  #Clairelcardwell  #Bluedesigns  #Bluedesignsarchitecturaldesigners  #Roundhouses  #Roundbuildings  #Curves  #Architecture  #Architecturaldesign  #Architect #Resilientarchitecture  #Energyefficiency  #Windresistance  #Hurricane  #Hurricanecharley  

Claire L Cardwell Nov 13, 2018 · #42

#41 Thanks @Ivonne Teoh - thanks for the inspiration - great ideas for more articles - round houses in Chinese Architecture, traditional Chinese Architecture and also Feng Shui...

Ivonne Teoh Nov 13, 2018 · #41

User removed

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Claire L Cardwell Oct 12, 2018 · #40

#39 Thanks @John Rylance (don't know why I can't tag you..), it was an interesting piece to work on - I love the idea that people with Altzeimers have a corridor that goes around the building so that they can get to where they are going to - could be a great concept for people with severe autism too.

John Rylance Oct 12, 2018 · #39

A very interesting piece. 
Near me accommodation has been built for people with altzimers, with corridors that go round the building so that whichever where they go from their flats/rooms they wil get to where they want to go.

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Claire L Cardwell Oct 9, 2018 · #38

#37 I haven't @Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris - will definitely google him - thanks so much for the pointer!

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Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris Oct 7, 2018 · #37

Intriguing. Have you looked at the designs of Jacques Fresco? He has some interesting ideas (some of which he has implemented) about how future cities could be like and there a strong element of curved buildings there. Cheers 

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Claire L Cardwell Jul 2, 2018 · #36

#35 Thanks Lada, I agree - round buildings make perfect sense - especially for skyscrapers!

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Lada 🏡 Prkic Jul 2, 2018 · #35

Hi Claire, it's a great topic. As you illustrated under point 8, by fusing outer circle with orthogonal internal walls, we can facilitate constructibility.
I am also interested in the circular shape when it comes to high-rise buildings. The tendency in high-rise construction is in even taller skyscrapers, which makes building more exposed to wind loads. The circular shape with adaptive envelope seems to be the most logical for different wind directions.

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