“Be ‘different’ in a round house,” urged the Sydney Morning Herald in April 1964, advertising a small, two-bedroom circular house with a flat roof, clerestory windows, and adjoining carport -
For a fee of ten guineas (equivalent to ten-and-a-half pounds), the paper offered readers the building plans for the small round house below -
By the early ’60s, circular homes had gained a modicum of acceptance in Australia. Noted architects Roy Grounds and Alex Jelinek had already designed round houses on the outskirts of Melbourne and Canberra, and the Sydney Morning Herald had run articles on round houses in the US. How many circular house plans were sold — and whether any were built — is not known.
A novelty style round house in Eads, Colorado, was recently entered on the National Register of Historic Places. Named the Crow-Hightower House after two of its early owners, the house has a conical entrance, a crenellated cornice, walls of contrasting brick, and an “exuberant” circular form. Here is the house in 1955, a few years after it was built -
The NRHP registration form includes historical information about round houses in the US, noting that they are relatively rare both in Colorado and nationally. Apparently the builder of the Crow-Hightower House, Warren A. Portrey, had previously built another round house just outside of Eads, and went on to build two more circular structures in Oregon.
Portrey’s son Ron recalled that Portrey, who was “always interested in new things,” was eager to build more round houses. Unfortunately, he “couldn’t get people interested in them” because they were “not conventional” and “not the same style everybody else was building.” Portrey built the two Oregon structures — a house and a workshop — for himself.
Vintage postcards of round houses from Somerville, Massachusetts to Nunspeet, Holland. Only two of these homes are still standing -
A pillar-box. A quite ordinary-looking pillar-box. Or was it? That was what Robin was to find out. And without this ordinary — or extraordinary pillar-box there could have been no story — no funny, fantastic adventures with Mr. Papingay, and the Home-made fairy, and Penny and all the rest of them.
Marion St. John Webb’s The Little Round House was originally published in 1924 in the UK; the illustrated version above came out in 1956. The book was the first of an extremely popular series of children’s stories.
In an interview with The Guardian, architect Zaha Hadid talks about resisting rectangular design. “The world is not a rectangle,” she insists. “You don’t go into a park and say: ‘My God, we don’t have any corners.’”
A round house on South Padre Island, at the very tip of Texas, hosted Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and former Texas Governor Anne Richards.
Scarlet and George Colley fell in love there, and went on to become our Island’s foremost dolphin experts. Nancy Marsden lived there for a while too, and subsequently met her new husband Mike. It must be some kind of powerful love-shack, if you ask me, as everyone still is together.