Landshare Project: Circular Ellipsoids on Three Levels

The functional model of my ideal home could be implemented in any of a large variety of physical realisations. The first one I chose as my own per­sonal preference comprises three circular ellipsoidal enclosures on 3 levels in half-storey steps.

General Vision

My vision of an ideal home/workplace is radical. It consists of 3 separate functional units. The first is for living. It is where one receives sustenance. This includes eat­ing and talking, entertainment and recreation. Food for the body and food for the mind. The second unit is for care and sleeping. It has bedrooms with en-suite wash­ing and toilet facilities. It also provides for the storage and washing of clothes. The third unit is the workplace. Its content depends on the nature of its occupier's work.

Each unit takes the form of a round ellipsoid of aspect ratio 2 and 15 to 20 metres diameter. The first is at ground level. The second is on a small plinth half a storey above the ground. The third is suspended a full storey above the ground. Access is provided between them. This new age home should be set in at least a hectare of inspiring countryside — preferably near the sea. Although for the most part static, it is capable of self transportation in the event that its occupiers may need to re­locate.

Specific Design

Each ellipsoid is 14 metres diameter. It comprises a central 4 metre diameter cylin­drical unit surrounded by 6 segmental units. The segmental units of the lower and intermediate ellipsoids are regular 120° segments. The upper (bedroom) ellipsoid has asymmetrical segments in order to accommodate the layout constraints of each bedroom. The central cylinder and segments of each ellipsoid are built separ­ately and joined on site. These can all be disconnected again for transportation to a new site. Each cylinder and segment is constructed on a system of ribbing, which is formed using jigs from successive layers of resin bonded wood ply and clad in spe­cially moulded glass fibre sections.

The 3 ellipsoids overlap — or perhaps I should say, partially coalesce — so that the outer circumference of each, passes though the geometric centre of the whole str­ucture. The physical plan and elevation of the house are shown in the diagram.

Full plan of the proposed three-level eco-dwelling.

Each circular cell has an external diameter of 4 metres and provides the environ­ment for one of the activities I identified earlier in this work.

Ground Level UnitIntermediate Level UnitHigh Level Unit
PE = Posh Entrance LA = Lounge/Auditorium BR = Bedroom
ME = Messy Entrance DR = Dining Room SB = Study Booth
CT = Cloakroom/Toilet KI = Kitchen SC = Staircases
IR = Interview Room KG = Kitchen Garden
LW = Laboratory/Workshop PG = Patio Garden
EH = Entrance Hall

The circular ellipsoid which encapsulates each section of the house is 14 metres diameter with an overall height of half that. However, the bottom is of a lesser cur­v­ature, namely that of a similar circular ellipsoid 1½ times the size. The two ellip­s­oids intersect at floor level, as can be seen by the change of curvature below each respective floor level in the PLAN section of the diagram.

The overlapping large light grey circles show the extent of coverage of the circular ellipsoids. The dark grey shows sections of the ground floor ellipsoid that have been cut away to allow access to the outer doors. The darker green shows an elliptical section that has been removed from the roof of the intermediate level ellipsoid. This is to make the kitchen garden and the patio garden open to the sky, while re­taining a low outer wall at the northern perimeter.

Each of the 21 cells has a central skylight. Some also have vertical windows to pro­vide an outside view. The internal height of each cell is 2230 mm. The thickness of the floor and ceiling of each cell is 250 mm. Each of the two staircases comprises 8 steps and rises half a floor (1275 mm). All doorways are fitted with secure ram proof power-driven sliding doors (shown in red in the diagram). The cells do not have to be round in every case. Only the ones at the centres of the 3 ellipsoids have to be round. Any of the other cells may take advantage of the extra space gained by filling it out into a segment-shape. In other cases the space cut off by a round cell may be more useful for such things as service ducts and pipes.

The whole house is flanked by three coalescing circular shallow reflecting pools with the same outline as the house, but with their pattern rotated 60° relative to the house. These go underneath the suspended intermediate and high level ellips­oids, but skirt around the ground level ellipsoid.

Of course, the realisation of such a home would require a considerable advance in present technology and an enormous amount of lateral thinking.

© June 2001 Robert J Morton