Home  . BCO Homes . Housing Needs . Solar Heat . Universal Design . Development
FAQ . Gallery  . Op-ed . Site Map . Bios . LinksContact

Creating affordable and sustainable, nature-integrated homes for independent living
The BuildingCircles Community Homes


BuildingCircles Community Homes


Home is about relationship.
Relationship between ... 
  • people and each other. 
  • people and space.
  • people and nature. 

Appearance. These custom-designed,  nature-integrated homes in the BuildingCircles community appear to “grow” naturally out of the ground.  Gentle contours and landscaped earth-berming rise to the lower sills of recessed windows.  In between the windows and doors the ground slopes gently to the living roof, blending with nature.  In turn the eaves can support vegetation (i.e. vines or other climbing plants) which descends down to the top sill of windows and doors.  Although the home is sheltered by earth and vegetation, it's "above grade" siting will permit abundant light through windows and skylights.

BuildingCircles Community Homes
(click picture to enlarge)

Individual choice of landscaping, stonework facades, doors, windows, decks, and courtyards will make each home a unique expression of the resident's taste.  The interiors will also reflect owner choices for maximum comfort, style, and sustainability.


BuildingCircles Community Homes
(click picture to enlarge)

AdvancedGreen  -  Beyond "Green Chic." The heart of our AdvancedGreen designs is a "living house" that locally collects as much energy and water as it uses.  It will minimize its ecological foot print by using mostly water pervious surfaces and managing run-off intelligently.  Our goal will be to strive for standards set by the Cascadia US Green Building Council in their "Living Building Challenge."  That challenge raises the bar even higher than currently established standards of sustainability in the built environment (see BCO links page).

We are also inspired by Dr. John Todd,The New Alchemy Institute (1971-1991), and Ocean Arcs International (1981-current).  Visit the NAI wikipedia link, download "New Alchemy Institute Bio-Shelters" (a 65 MB .pdf) and OAI. Also learn about Eco-Machines (now offered commercially by John Todd Ecological Design).

Imagine the benefits 
of low-cost, low-maintenance, 
low-energy use, AdvancedGreen homes:


Benefits of BuildingCircles Home Designs:
  • Aesthetically compelling
  • Acoustic and visual privacy
  • Comfortable and secure

  • Less costly to build and maintain 
  • Footprint returned to the ecosystem 
  • Full-scale gardening on load-bearing roofs. 

  • Highly-efficient energy systems
  • Outstanding ventilation design
  • Inexpensive temperature and humidity control


  • Advanced water harvesting and disposal
  • Progressive choices in composting and related sewage solutions
  • Reduced risk of flooding, fire, and vermin

  • Reduced seismic risk
  • Compliance with King County building codes, public health requirements, and GMA zoning.

Affordable.   The rewards for downsizing include reduced cost of materials, time required for building, and cost of financing, which will all contribute to a lower initial cost for these homes.  In addition, they are anticipated to have low maintenance costs and could result in significantly lower energy costs than even partly "green" but more conventional larger houses.

Materials and Structure. The BuildingCircles ferrocement homes will be designed for low maintenance and solidly built to last.  These efficiently sprayed, highly insulated, shotcrete structures will use recycled steel and sustainable, blended concrete (hemcrete).

Floor, walls, and roof all flow together for one contiguous, curvilinear, exceptionally strong, monocot structure.  Curvilinear designs can optimally extend the livable space of conventional domes by outwardly curving above-grade like a pumpkin nestled into the earth. Bay windows with window seats can also extend out beyond the building "footprint." 

Solar-heated greenhouses with raised beds for accessibility will also be earth-sheltered. 

Earth-sheltering is best done with strong shapes and materials for high "load-bearing" capacity.  Conventional "post and beam" construction cannot cost-effectively perform as well.  Spray technology (for structure and insulation) can also be more cost-effective than conventional "stick-built" homes.

Also see our FAQ and links page for more about materials and structure.


Ferrocement Sculpture Designed and Built by Robert Bornn
Casa del Mar Estate in Caspar, California

Oshonia is an example of a curvilinear structure constructed from steel and concrete.


Home  . BCO Homes . Housing Needs . Solar Heat . Universal Design . Development
FAQ . Gallery  . Op-ed . Site Map . Bios . LinksContact


The Small Print:
This site is for educational purposes only.  It is not a substitute for professional consultation.  No claim is made or implied that the ideas, inventions, illustrations, and documents on this site are applicable to anyhousing, building, or land use project.  Nor does the site represent in any way consulting services of any kind.  Nothing on this site is an offer to sell, transfer, license, or use intellectual property.

Copyright (c) 2006-2010 by Robert Bornn and Laura Worth.  All rights reserved.
BuildingCircles, LifeSense Institute, AdvancedGreen, and Creating affordable and sustainable, nature-integrated homes for independent living, and enchanted naturalism are trademarks of Robert Bornn and Laura Worth.

Renderings by Robert Bornn and Nancy Henderson, AIA, LEED, AP.
Floor plan by Nancy Henderson, AIA, LEED, AP.
Illustrative Site Plan Courtesy of Barbara Oakrock, Oakrock Design Studio

Photos by Robert Bornn
Web site by Laura Worth Web Design.