Is Green Architecture Missing a Footing? — 10 Comments

  1. There are strong cultural factors against geometric shapes like this. There’s enormous pressure to conform to what everyone else is doing. There are also major economic concerns such as resale value. You may never be able to sell a roundhouse, dome or octagonal house for instance. A house is often the largest investment people ever make. What if someone loses their job then gets another job in another city or state? They don’t want to be stuck with something not marketable. Also, homeowner associations and developers play a big role in creating generic looking neighborhoods.

  2. Buckminster Fuller had the same idea, and took it to it’s logical conclusion (how to build a sphere with the minimum of materials). The problem in both is actually wall space. It’s easier to fit our furniture in a box. Take a moment to look around the room you’re in right now. How much of your furniture is up against the wall? If the room was curved or trapezoidal, how much of your furniture would you need to change? How much would have to be custom made? (Less of an issue for octagonal than curved, but can still be an issue for cabinetry and large sofas.) Now, while some of us would see this a good excuse to pull out the carpentry tools and buy the heavy duty sewing machine for upholstery, for most people, how well their existing furniture fits into a new house is part of the evaluation process. So until you can go down to Lowe’s and pick up a curved couch or a 45 degree corner piece for the sectional, most people won’t go for a house that isn’t a box.

      • YES! that is a great house plan, Owen.

        We are dreaming of neighborhoods with octagonal homes for folks, helping to co create Regenerative Supportive Living.

        another great aspect of octagons is that you have eight walls where you can
        have windows/doors to look out.

        better cross flow of energy.

        the interior air circulates much better than in a box with corners.

        there are flat walls where you can add other octagon/s to enlarge the home space.

        many more reasons to come.

    • I live in a 28ft diameter Hogan–an eight sided strawbale home, traditional with the Navajo here. I LOVE it. There are two wings on it…entry and greenhouse on the S end, and bathroom on the W end. No problem whatsoever with furniture, though the kitchen wouldn’t lend itself to cookie cutter cabinets from Lowe’s…had to have a carpenter build it. And its is a super efficient and beautiful kitchen. I definitely prefer this shape to any other.

      • Octagonal is a good house shape for straw bales because they’re large rectangular blocks. The ideal is a wall length that matches an even number of bales perfectly. Ex: each side of the octagon has 5 bales. This way you don’t have to make custom sized bales.

        Gravel bags make a perfect foundation for the bales to raise them up off the ground so they don’t get water damaged. You can use scoria or pumice gravel in the gravel bags to create an insulated foundation.

        Adding a greenhouse on the south or southeast side as you’ve done is an excellent idea. In my plan I added lots of south facing windows and put plants on the windowsill.

        • The greenhouse wing actually on the East end with windows on both E and S sides (wing is square shaped) which works really well in Spring which is the only time I really use it. Then I have a sliding glass door on the S side of the main (octogonal) part of the house for direct winter heat gain. (Windows also in E, SW, NW sides. I love all the cheery light. I am not sure, Owen, if they planned for bale sizes when they built it.

          • Boy I am really having directional challenges today… the sliding glass door is facing SE, not direct S; But there is a big window to South. Maybe living in a house with eight sides DOES mess with your head sometimes! ☺

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