First constructed in the 3rd millenium BC in what is now southwest Scotland, prehistoric round houses continued to be built up through the UK’s Roman period, particularly in the north and west of the country.

In recent decades, archeologists have discovered and excavated an enormous number of ancient round house sites. As of 2008, the number of excavated round houses in Britain had nearly reached 4,000.

det runda huset

April 30, 2015 — 1 Comment

One of my favorite round houses — just off the beach in Bastad, Sweden — is once again for sale. It’s beautiful inside and out –

bastad, sweden

bastad, sweden

windmill house

April 30, 2015 — 1 Comment

A former windmill, now a private home, is for sale in Leeds, England. Here is how it looked in the early 1900s –

potternewton, leeds

The windmill was built in the mid to late 18th century. A 1789 lease between the Earl of Mexborough, Peter Garforth and William Burrows makes reference to a “windmill lately built, Scott Hall Gate Close, (in possession of Joseph Ingle) and newly erected dwelling place.”

The windmill is thought to have been converted to residential use in the late 19th century. A Leeds directory from 1882 states that the house was occupied by David Lee, market gardener, and called Windmill House. Now known as the Round House, it can be yours for £295,000.

Odd, bunker-like round houses in Mogadishu, built in the 1930s –

mogadishu round housesI wonder if they still exist.

Mogadishu evidently witnessed a period of modernist expansion in the 1930s, including the construction of several majestic art deco buildings. Most were badly damaged if not destroyed during Somalia’s decades of civil war.

cool britannia

March 26, 2015 — 1 Comment

Add this fantastic house to your list of reasons to visit London –

converted water tower in london.In 2005, British designer Tom Dixon bought a disused 1930s water tower in north London, collaborating with sustainable architectural firm SUSD to convert the landmark structure into a home.

Watch the building being constructed on the tower’s concrete base –

The F-House cell block at Stateville Correctional Center, in Illinois, is the last remaining panopticon-style prison building in the United States –

stateville penitentiary f-house, IL The round plan of a panopticon, as designed by 18th/19th century British philosopher and criminologist Jeremy Bentham, was meant to allow the guards, stationed at the center of the circle, to monitor prisoners without the prisoners themselves knowing whether or not they were being observed. Bentham once described the panopticon as “a mill for grinding rogues honest.” All the flowers in the world cannot disguise the design’s essentially coercive function.

pi day is coming

March 13, 2015 — Leave a comment

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round houses with a view

February 18, 2015 — 1 Comment

Sunrise in northern Ethiopia, near Lalibela –

northern ethiopia sunrise

the future is not yet here

January 19, 2015 — 1 Comment

The vacation house of the future, as conceived in 1957 by automobile designer James R. Powers

vacation house of the future

It has stylistic affinities with the Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport, built during the same period –

theme building, LAX

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into the futuro

December 5, 2014 — 2 Comments

If you can get to London in the next 10 days, you will have the rare chance to visit a restored Futuro House. A prefabricated, spaceship-like structure, the Futuro House was designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1968 as a holiday cabin –

mg_7001lowres

craig barnes futuro

Built of fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic, and measuring 26 feet in diameter, the Futuro House sits on a metal stand; it was meant to be easy to build and easy to transport. The idea was to mass produce the structures and sell them around the world, but their design found little favor with the public. Fewer than 100 Futuro Houses were ever built; only about 60 of them exist today, many in disrepair. (For the closest thing to a full list of those that have survived, visit FuturoHouse.net, which has tracked down Futuros in Japan, Russia, Malaysia and Ukraine, among other places.)

Artist Craig Barnes discovered the house above while on vacation in South Africa. He bought it, dismantled it, shipped it to the UK, and spent the past 18 months restoring it to its former glory. At Matt’s Gallery in east London, it is being used as a temporary space for an “intimate and informal series of talks, discussions, lectures, exhibitions, screenings and performances at 4pm every day.”