I’ve been travelling around the wilds of South Dakota, looking at the small towns that most people never see, and one item has stood out for me so much that now I’m looking at everything for this one feature. Pretty much every building that is not used exclusively to store grain is rectangular or contains sharp corners.
Almost every home, garage, barn, office, etcetera, has a rectangular floor plan including my home, my workplace, and any place I have ever lived. There are some exceptions but very few buildings contain curves or round floor plans and now that I see this, I find it really odd.
Granted, I understand that it is simpler to build with square corners and older construction was fast by doing this but as we reach into these modern times of new construction methods and new understandings of energy conservation I wonder why we still cling to such an inorganic design.
So far, I’ve only seen a few types of residences that have either a curved portion or a rounded corner but it is usually excluded to one corner of the building and most of the time it was on houses that were in the more opulent neighborhoods. Some of this has to do with how you put a window into a curved wall and not many could get curved glass windows. Otherwise the vast majority of homes are variations of squares and rectangles stitched together to give dimension but always standing out from nature, never blending in with it.
And yet as I look at pictures of round homes online I still see a sharp contrast that makes me painfully aware that our homes don’t belong. Maybe it is the contrasting color or still having sharp roof lines that bothers me so much. But in reality it is going to be “each to their own” when it comes to what works or not.
In my ideal setting, I would like to have a place that was set into a hillside where most of the house was underground and the roof extended the drop in the slope. It would need to face southeast to gain the warmth and light of the sun with a small courtyard to spend time outside when it was nice. The main structure would need to be like a crescent that was visible but only when you were right up to it, hidden from the side where vehicles would travel. A place where it looked out over the valley where very little human activity is visible so that it could be open and private at the same time.
But for now I will have to accept the square corners of my home on the rectangular section of land that it sits upon. Maybe one day I can upgrade with a turret style living room, or make a curved garage space. Either way, I will still explore and look for something that feels right.