Saturday, October 15, 2022

That Roundhouse

That Roundhouse is a roundhouse sited in woods within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park near the town of Newport in Wales. It was constructed without planning permission during the winter of 1997/1998 by Tony Wrench and Jane Faith and helpers as part of the then secret Brithdir Mawr intentional community. The structure was discovered in 1998, challenged by the authorities, and threatened with demolition; it was granted retrospective planning permission in September 2008, with a review in three years. The “radical experiment” has attracted considerable media attention in relation to issues surrounding green building, affordable housing, low-carbon building, low-impact development and sustainable living.

The natural building was designed by Tony Wrench and Jane Faith as their home and was built with the help of friends and volunteers, including labour exchange with their permaculture group. That Roundhouse was built mainly from immediately available materials, which meant primarily wood, all of which they cut themselves (as opposed to using commercially sourced lumber from a sawmill).

Like many roundhouses around the world, it uses a reciprocal frame, in this case of hand-cut Douglas Fir. Between the structural posts are cordwood walls; this technique was common in the pioneer days of deciduous North America. The building has a green roof planted with grapes and other productive and native plants, over a pond liner and straw insulation.

The cost of the 10 m diameter building has been reported at around £3,000. The design is based on permaculture principles of using local resources where possible, to meet one's needs without producing waste and to work with nature rather than against it.

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