You could say my architectural preference is round. As documented on my travels and adventures, I came across lots of dome homes, rounded buildings, curved greenhouses, portable structures, and many other circular constructions!
Below is a hefty list of rounded structures to support the success and longevity of circular design.
The Domes, (AKA Baggins End Innovative Housing)
The Domes, (AKA Baggins End Innovative Housing) is an on-campus cooperative housing community designed by Ron Swenson. Consisting of 14 polyurethane-insulated fiberglass domes located in the Sustainable Research Area at the western end of Orchard Park, it is home to 26 UCD students. – The Domes Webpage
Learn more about my Muir Commons Cohousing & Davis Domes visit.
Besides its revenue for the village economy (Airbnb), the Hobbit Hole is an earthquake-proof fire shelter, a cool respite from summer heat, and probably an effective bomb shelter for those of you who might be survivalists… It’s mostly an underground, or earth-sheltered, structure, so Mother Earth buffers its Hobbity insides, clad with golden rings and sting swords, with her constant 55 degree blanket. And while it’s equipped with a toasty roasty wood stove, not much heating or cooling is necessary.— The Concrete Thinking of Hobbits, Dan Schultz
You can read more here about Maitreya Mountain Village and all of it’s structures.
The Biosphere 2 facility serves as a laboratory for controlled scientific studies, an arena for scientific discovery and discussion, and a far-reaching provider of public education. Its mission is to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching and life-long learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe; to catalyze interdisciplinary thinking and understanding about Earth and its future; to be an adaptive tool for Earth education and outreach to industry, government, and the public; and to distill issues related to Earth systems planning and management for use by policymakers, students and the public.— Biosphere 2 Website
Learn more about my time at the Biosphere 2 complex.
Avalon Organic Gardens & Ecovillage
“Avalon Organic Gardens & Ecovillage is one of the worlds largest and longest sustaining EcoVillages, situated on 220-acres of historic & sacred agricultural land in Southern Arizona’s fertile Santa Cruz River Valley. At Avalon Gardens, over 115 dedicated individuals practice farming using traditional permaculture principles and time-honored techniques of organic gardening, as well as new sustainable technologies. We have people from all over the world with a diverse age groups and cultural backgrounds.”— NuMundo Website
Learn more about my time touring Avalon Organic Gardens & Ecovillage.
“In 1970, The Cosanti Foundation began building Arcosanti, an experimental town in the high desert of Arizona, 70 miles north of metropolitan Phoenix. An ambitious project envisioned as an experiment in living frugally and with a limited environmental footprint, Arcosanti is an attempt at a prototype arcology, integrating the design of architecture with respect to ecology. Based on a set of four core values that include Frugality and Resourcefulness, Ecological Accountability, Experiential Learning, and Leaving a Limited Footprint. The Cosanti Foundation operates Arcosanti as a counterpoint to mass consumerism, urban sprawl, unchecked consumption of natural resources, and social isolation.”— Arcosanti Website
Learn more about my Arcosanti tour here.
A Quonset huts are lightweight prefabricated structures, usually made of corrugated galvanized steel having a semi cylindrical cross-section. The design was developed in the US based on the Nissen hut introduced by the British during World War I. Hundreds of thousands were produced during World War II and military surplus was sold to the public. The name comes from the site of their first manufacture at Quonset Point at the Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center in Davisville, Rhode Island.— Quonset Hut, Wikipedia Entry
Aside from the dozens of traditional high-tunnel greenhouses I saw on my travels, quonset huts were also common structures I encountered on my travels. The most impressive quonset was the Taos Mesa Brewing and outdoor event center. Not only did they have a cool interior, but they also had large outdoor structures and pavilions for events.
Another quonset I saw was at The Natural Gardener, which served as a contained tropical greenhouse! This quonset could be debated as a permanent high-tunnel – but we’d be splitting hairs on differences.
Geodesic Greenhouse Domes
Geodesic domes for greenhouses is fairly common in the environmental world. Their surface area design and overall mathematical shape allow the most sunlight in while providing protection and room to grow. The first most notable dome was on my mentor’s urban homestead, the former home of the School of Permaculture. The other domes I came across were for all-season crop production depending on the community’s needs.
Monolithic is dedicated to improving people’s lives worldwide by introducing and constructing Monolithic Domes, for personal and public use, that are disaster-resistant, energy-efficient and cost-effective.
Monolithic Domes are the most energy efficient and safest buildings that can be built and that can be designed for many uses. Many schools now conduct their classes in Monolithic Domes. Some are designated as tornado shelters. Others have Monolithic Dome gymnasiums, auditoriums, multipurpose centers, libraries, cafeterias, etc.— Monolithic Dome Institute Website
Check out my self-guided tour of the Monolithic Dome Institute community grounds.
ShelterBox provides disaster relief to families devastated by conflict or disaster through generous donations from individuals and organizations wanting to make a difference. We provide emergency shelter and tools to rebuild communities— ShelterBox Facebook Page
I came across ShelterBox disaster relief tents at a eco-fair in Oregon. As the name describes, the shelters come in boxes fully equipped with all the tools and repair equipment needed. These shelters empower their residents by requiring them to put in some buy-in construction effort along with any repair maintenance themselves.
Round Cob Ovens
Adding to the list of curved construction, I saw several cob ovens on my travels. These were earthen made ovens that were used for cooking at communities, usually pizza and breads from my experience. We had a smaller “dragon oven” at Lost Valley. Our guest instructor on cob construction also build a very large over for a pizzeria in her hometown.
Other Round Structures
Below you’ll see a whole slew of different rounded structures. Ranging from circular cob cottages to stone spiral structures, there seemed to almost always be a circular or rounded building on each of my adventures. You’ll also see some rounded garden features below too, like a keyhole garden and hand-made willow structures!