would you live in a circular house?

November 8, 2013 — 8 Comments

Back in the late 1950s, when living in the suburbs was understood to be the common aspiration of mankind, the magazine Suburbia Today asked this question of its readers. In an article about the “unusual suburban home” of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Benson, whose circular floor plan offered ample open space for entertaining guests, it gave an appealing glimpse of life in the round.

Stunning views, tasteful furnishings, elegant cocktail parties — a round home was modern and glamorous, the magazine suggested.

mario corbett, round house, sausalito

The Walter Bensons wanted their house to be round so that they could get maximum exposure to their magnificent views. To live way, way up on the top of a mountain in a house that seems to melt in with its surroundings; to look freely all about you and see the mountain ridges to the side, the bay and ocean below, and the teeming city across that you must be part of and yet can turn away from at will — this was the dream of the Bensons.

suburbia today article, 1959Designed by Bay Area architect Mario Corbett in 1954, the Benson’s redwood and glass house was built on a hillside in Sausalito, California. It is now nearing its sixtieth anniversary – still there – and still, one assumes, a great place for a cocktail party.

suburbia today

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8 responses to would you live in a circular house?

  1. 

    Very funny article. To me, it’s really not the suburbs as it’s just 10 minutes to San Francisco from that part of Sausalito. I’m sure the views are amazing – San Francisco, the Bay and maybe even the Golden Gate Bridge.

  2. 
    Marvin McConoughey November 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Yes, i would live in a round house, and have, for 26 years now.

  3. 
    Livon Diramerian November 9, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Circular houses are better forms to live in.To get the best effect of circular forms, furniture should be designed on the same principle.

    • 
      Marvin McConoughey May 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      You are correct, Livon. We were particularly fortunate to find an old curved pew of the same curvature as our house. It sits in the living room near the entry and serves as an informal sitting space for casual visitors.

  4. 

    Built a multiple dome house as an experiment 18 months ago. The inside environment is warm, dry and enveloping. No cavities, no rebar, no formaldehives. From a sceptic I now believe it’s the way of the future. Our problem is we need some one to design the internal spaces.

    • 
      Marvin McConoughey May 17, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Designing the round house interior is by far the most difficult challenge to meet. We came up with a very elegant interior, but not a particularly space efficient design. Many round houses have used a pie slice configuration for the rooms. This is a useful approach but at some cost to the “feeling” of roundness in the rooms. For small round houses a maximally open interior may be the most efficient approach.

  5. 
    Livon Diramerian June 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    The house doesn’t have to be of one circle. It can be of several circles that are related to each other.

  6. 
    Livon Diramerian June 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    The house doesn’t have to be of one circle. It can be of several circles that are related to each other.Thanks Marvin for your reply.

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