Fowler argued that the building was more visually appealing when it was round, like a fruit. In his 1848 book The Octagonal House: A Home for All, he wrote: The closer the angle is to a circle, the more beautiful it is. ”
Round houses are expensive to build, so Mr. Fowler settled on an octagonal house as a second best option. He argued that octagonal houses with windows on all sides were healthier to live in and made better use of space because they had more light and better air flow. “All the rooms are connected so you can move from one to the next without having to go through a cold and boring entrance,” he wrote.
He explained that such a floor plan would make housework easier “especially for frail women” because the distance from the kitchen to the laundry would be shorter. As he saw it, there were few domestic efforts that could not be done better in the Octagon.
Over the years, many of Mr. Fowler’s claims have been dismissed, but some have held up.
Joseph Per Lombardi, the architect who owned and restored the magnificent building Armersteiner Houseof Irvington, New York, agree that many windows provide phenomenal light. “In a square or rectangular house, there are times when the sun hits the corners, and less light enters the house,” said 82-year-old Lombardi. The room is bathed in sunshine and it’s just wonderful.
Octagonal houses often have a central staircase that opens up to the roof, which tends to be airier and cooler. But that also applies to traditional homes with access to the roof, says Lombardi.
And he’s skeptical of Fowler’s claims that octagonal homes make better use of space. These homes usually have several square rooms, but due to the shape of the exterior, much of the remaining space is inevitably triangular. often used. In large homes they become a design issue.
“The triangle room is kind of an interesting room,” he said. “From the door, it looks like a large room. But when you go inside, it fills up quickly. So they’re just weird kinds of rooms.”