Rachel Ross

Why Our Ancestors Built Round Houses - and Why it Still Makes Sense to Build Round Structures Today

by , 08/13/12

hurricane ties, roof trusses for round roof, engineered scissor trusses, simpson ties

The roof structure incorporates a unique architectural design that has its origins in the mountain steppes of Central Asia. Roof trusses meet in a center ring, producing inward and outward pressure which holds the roof in a state of compression. In modern round buildings using the ancient Yurt design, 1-3 airplane grade steel cables circle the outer perimeter where the trusses meet the wall and hold the natural outward thrust. Because of this combination of a central compression ring at the top of the roof and the encircling cables where the roof meets the walls, long roof spans are possible without any internal support system (like beams or posts). The interconnected tension in the building goes all the way to the ground and uses gravity and compression to hold it together with incredible strength.

The natural ther­mal dynam­ics of open-at-the-top architecture round space uses no external energy to circulate temperature. It works like this; heated air naturally rises till it reaches the insulated ceiling, it moves up the domed ceiling till it reaches the center skylight, which is cooler, the air reacts by dropping to the floor where it moves across to the walls and rises again till it meets the skylight and drops again. This action constantly circulates the air and temperatures in the home.

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6 Comments

  1. Melissa Kriger February 8, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Of course they did! Our ancestors were aware of the harmony and synergy of sacred geometry and built to reflect this truth. :D

  2. lolli19 September 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I think these are gorgeous!

  3. BobWet May 1, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Here is a 2008 Round House in Ireland:
    http://www.winkens.ie/strawbale.htm

  4. rachel ross August 15, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Hi bthinker- Your project sounds really interesting! I agree that adding submerged floors increases the functionality of the space combined with the hexagonal shape- check out our website at http://www.mandalahomes.com for other examples. Thanks for your comments!~Rachel

  5. robdude robdude August 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Just when we think we no it all, only to find out our ancestors had it pegged a thousand years back. Why am I not surprised!

  6. bthinker bthinker August 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    A very advanced Shelter I’ve been working on for years put this compression effect and centerpiece cooling to use. I’m making a downward spiraling biodome of sorts. I agree though, I see anything that’s not round/oval as a primitive box. I believe a house also needs to have submerged floors though to complete the funcionality of the dome shape efficiency, a hexagon works best for the sub floors with the correct support system as a round basement would easily cave but a hexagon done right can bounce impact to the adjacent walls.

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