Dome Homes and Other Rounded Structures

Not only are these rounded homes unique, but they utilize modern technology to provide solutions for eco-effective construction. With structures that actually physically rotate to optimize sunlight, to small-space solutions in a holistic environment and construction with unlikely materials like styrofoam, I can't help but think that some of the sacrifices we've had to make as the result of our changing environment can really drive innovation.

1. Free Spirit Spheres: Borrowing from sailboat construction and bio-mimicry, these spherical living units are built to withstand the elements of the surrounding habitat. Located in a large, mature rain forest the spherical shape distributes any impact from branches, wind or ice, and resists any punctures or cracks. Beautifully suspended in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, these spheres are available to purchase, or for overnight rental.

2. Domespaces originated in France, and are built on a rotating engine, so the house can actually rotate itself! It does so in order to take optimize light and solar energy, turning your house so that certain windows face or oppose the sun at any time you want in order to balance the internal temperature and reduce energy consumption. There's no metal in any of the building, with insulation that's made from raw cork.

3. Styrofoam Dome Homes Are igloo-shaped structures designed in Japan and assembled by snapping together modular sections made from styrofoam. It seems like an odd material to make a home from, but their claim the the construction does not produce any waste or involve deforestation, is pretty appealing from an environmental standpoint.

4. Natural Spaces Domes is one of the leading manufacturers of geodesic domes in the world. Known as "Bear Creek Dome", this home provides enough strength to withstand earthquakes and 200 mph winds. It boasts energy efficiency and the panels used are toxin and draft-free.

5. Eco Hab's Eco-Pod Homes boast energy-efficiency, and optimize natural lighting conditions as much as possible. Eco-Pods also have a high level of thermal insulation, have virtually no air leakage, are equipped with hot air recovery ventilation, include a wood or solid fuel burning stove, under floor heating, and 5 separate waste chutes for recycling. Other extras can include solar and/or PV panels, wind turbines, a seasonal thermal storage tank, rainwater harvesting, and a composting toilet.

(Images: 1. The Canadian Design Resource ; 2. Strange Houses & Weird Houses ; 3. Dome House ; 4. Vitodibari ; 5. Juggle Frogs)

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