In London, just off Battersea High Street, an oval house for sale –
A centuries old round house — once used as a pub, and before that a toll house — now for sale in Kettering, Northamptonshire, UK –
She practiced alternative medicine; he was a doctor. But despite his conventional facade it was he — and decidedly not she — who dreamed of living in a circular house.
The doctor, property-owner and soon-to-be-round-house-builder explained his thinking on an episode of the British television show Grand Designs. His architect sent him a drawing, he said, that was a perfect circle. “I took one look at it, and thought, that’s great; it’s what nature would do: nature doesn’t grow squares … it just grabbed me.”
The story of how this man took a compelling idea and made a house out of it — and how he somehow managed to convince his reluctant spouse to stick with him during the process — is unexpectedly moving.
At the end of the episode, narrator Kevin McCloud speaks about the house’s structure, but he could just as easily be describing the couple’s relationship: “the contradiction between the square and the round is completely resolvable. A building can take opposite ideas and synthesize from them something new and exciting.”
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.