The Round House

The Round House is based on mid-century modern styles, except this time on a more organic and less International flair. A juxtaposition of curved and rectilinear forms, although they might seem in conflict, produces an interesting contrast between the opposing thrusts in the design.


Front entrance to the Round House showing the roof over the bedroom and front portico.


The building is composed of two cylinders of different heights with cantilevered roofs projecting over separate areas, one, the front entrance and the other an enclosed private patio. Also, the two roofs are composed of different materials, further separating the two visually. The split between the two halves are further delineated by color, the bedroom/bath is dark in color and the living/kitchen area is white. Introduction of a rectangular front porch as well as a rectangular private patio, mirrors the roof structure, with the roofs providing a practical cover for both. For the cylinders that make up the two distinct areas of the design, the outer walls should properly be constructed with a visually smooth, paintable surface such as fine textured stucco or metal. A cement block or brick surface would diminish the overall aesthetic. However, with significant changes, this house could use a variety of materials and finishes.


A better view of the two roof lines and clerestory windows.


A view of the side of the house with a look at the curving form of the taller section.


Beginning to see the sculptural nature of the two semicircles.


The metal roof casts interesting shadows against the curved, white surface.


The soft curves of living/kitchen area starkly contrast with the sharp angles of the roof and private patio on the right.


The differences between shapes and shadows reminds me of paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe of Santa Fe structures.


Georgia O’Keeffe, Ranchos Church, Number 1, 1929, oil on canvas, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL.


Coming around to the other side we see the enclosed, private patio covered by the cantilevered roof of the tallest semicircle.


A direct side view displaying the different roof elevations and the contrast between dark and white.


We see the repetition and rise of the angular forms and the windows which only face the front.


The long stretches of roof thrust in different directions. The long, short stone wall helps to weaken the stark dark and white influence by introducing natural colors all along the front, directing the eye to the front entrance.


We get a closer look at the front portico.


Peeking into the front window at the living room.


On the other side of the front window with a view of the front portico. The wall on the right hides the kitchenette and small dining area.


Looking into the dining area with the wall to the kitchenette on the left.


Looking back toward the front entrance and living room.


The dining area on the right and the kitchenette on the left. The door on the left leads to the bathroom and the door to the right to the bedroom.


The kitchenette with the door to the right to the bathroom.


The bathroom which is formed from the  curved outer wall and a curved inside wall that altogether is like a Gothic arch.


Outside the bathroom door and in the bedroom. The vanity for the bathroom is in the main space of the bedroom, much like one would see in a hotel.


Looking across the curve of the bedroom with the glass door on the right to the private patio.


Seeing through the glass doors into the private patio.


Looking back toward the bedroom.


The Round House Floor Plan


Obviously, the Round House is composed of two half-cylinders with rectangular areas on either side of their union. The cantilevered roofs give covers for each end of the design. The private patio is just that, very private due to the high walls creating total seclusion off the bedroom, with the roof still 4 feet from the top of the patio walls. Windows are limited to the front and high clerestory windows provide a lot of light without diluting the space for furniture and wall space. In order to also offer this light to the bathroom, the surrounding walls (not seen in the images) go up 8 feet, 2 feet below the ceiling, allowing light from the clerestory windows to leak in.

As difficult as it is to design suitable space using circular forms, this particular design is quite flexible. By changing the roofs or changing surrounding spaces, the house can look and live very differently. Having recently examined a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix, Arizona that uses his trademark round shapes, I have already produced a variation on this house with a strong influence of Wright and will post that very soon. Keep watching.




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