An Architectural Wonder: Connecticut's Round House

BY Beena Pagarani / Jan 17 2020 / 14:50 PM

Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects have injected new life into a mushroom-shaped house that sprouted out in the spring of 1968 in Connecticut

An Architectural Wonder: Connecticut's Round House
Photo by Joe Poloczuk
An exterior view of the Rotating House

The period was 1966, a time when architecture in New York (literally) soared the skies. Ideas upon ideas were executed and several of them, more modern than the times. Just then, architect and engineer Richard T. Foster was driving past Wilton in Connecticut when he came across an expansive piece of land. It was upon seeing this green space that Richard envisioned the architectural marvel that stands there now - The Round House, or originally known as the Circambulant House.

A view from the Rotating House. Photo by Iwan Baan

Foster was a modernist architect and became the engineering genius of The Round House. The home was built in 1968 and it resembles a giant mushroom. The home itself is around 3.7 metres above the lush-green 4-acre landscape that it sits on. What’s also a wonder is that the home rotates 360 degrees clockwise and anti-clockwise, thus each room offers different views at any time of the day.

An interior view of the Upper Entryway. Photo by Iwan Baan

Foster lived in the home with his family for over 35 years until he passed away in 2002. The home is now privately owned and has undergone several renovations, including a more recent one in 2017 by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects. They have kept the integrity of the home intact. Renowned landscape designer Darrel Morrison, whose speciality is working with native species, redesigned the landscape and introduced several plants that are indigenous to Connecticut, allowing for nature to take its course and for plants to grow by season.

An outsite view from the Roating House. Photo by Iwan Baan

The owner sourced Arne desks by B&B Italia, a vintage Dr. Sonderbar Chair by Phillipe Starck, chairs designed by Marcel Wanders and even a round hanging bed is placed in one of the bedrooms.

An  exterior view of the Rotating House. Photo by Iwan Baan

As you walk through the entire home, the beauty of nature consumes you. The home does not have any walls on its exterior - it’s all floor-to-ceiling windows. And if this wasn’t enough, a 1.8 metre wide balcony spirals around the entire home to give residents the option to be at one with nature, albeit at a height. The recent refurbishment included an addition of an important feature to this home - a 560 square foot external guest house, complete with an indoor pool and outdoor infinity lap pool, overlooking the greenery around, a spa and a wide, open roof on top of the new structure.

An interior view of the guesthouse sauna. Photo by Joe Polowczuk

The interiors of this space are cladded with beautiful terrazzo flooring. The home also includes a kinetic mechanised pulley system enabling the home to rotate at will, in the direction desired and to allow for heavy items to be raised or brought down.

The round house is truly a work of art, intertwining architecture, impressive engineering, nature, design and modernism. It’s the epitome of a mid-century modern home and an architectural wonder. 

From the Winter 2019 issue of Harper's Bazaar Interiors