The Story? Escaping The Rectangle Trap

"Why live in bland suburbs (the bland subtopias of Ian Nairn), trapped in a suffocating planning-permission system?"

I'd been describing the Ekinoid Project to a friend when he said, "yes, yes, I get all that - but what is the story? Everything needs a story." ... and that stopped me. I'd been thinking about the structural challenges, design issues, creating a functional central floor - but these issues didn't get to what it was really about ...

The media promote the project as disaster-proof homes, a solution to low-level flooding and to over-population ... as an off-the-grid solution or as quick, modular-towns. And it could be all of these things - but at its heart it's about creating a fundamentally new space for people to live in - a space which because it is spherical, allows a completely new way of living: off the ground, off the grid. People are so thoroughly steeped in only living in cubes and clunky rectangles, plasterboard and brick, that they have stopped thinking about the inherent possibilities of curves and circles. Instead they immediately describe about the difficulties and impracticality of living in circular spaces (as if any of us have ever actually lived in this way!). The knee-jerk reaction I always hear is, "oh, compound curves are difficult and expensive, straight lines are sensible and cheap". How do we know? We have only ever tried one system.

However, I believe spherical building does NOT have to be inherently difficult - we have only to approach the issues in a different way, thinking in terms of circular tension rather than vertical compression. This is a way of building homes which, because of this particular structure, the sphere, are not only super-strong and super-light - but they also offer an off-the-grid mechanism that opens up an independent way of living, away from the stranglehold of utilities and excessive regulation; off-the-grid homes also potentially open up vast new areas of the world to settlement. So, these spherical houses might address part of the problem of where an extra four billion people can live (global population is forecast to level out at 11 billion) - and enjoy a very high quality of life at the same time (I don't accept that the solution of cramming billions of people into rectangular skyscrapers, from which they rarely emerge, in enormous industrial on-the-grid cities, is a high-quality-of-life solution).

Curved Space = Off the ground, Off the grid

So the story? Re-examining curved building spaces will, for the first time, enable truly independent living, anywhere: off the ground, and off the grid.

Richard Harries 2016