I ran across two instances of octagonal (8 sides) houses in the last week in Barcelona and San Francisco. Turns out 8 sided structures are fairly common. While there are many many many octagon houses and buildings in the world, here are 8 cool 8 sided houses, buildings and structures from around the world.
Constructed in the early 20th century, Eixample is a district of the Spanish city of Barcelona known for the urban planning that divided the district into octagonal blocks. Influenced by a range of schools of architecture, Eixample was designed in a grid pattern with long streets, wide avenues, and rounded street corners. Despite being in the center of a thriving European metropolis, the district provides improved living conditions for inhabitants including extensive sun light, improved ventilation, and more open green space for public use. [All That Is Interesting]
Octagon House, San Francisco
It all started with a 1848 book published by Orson Squire Fowler titled “The Octagon House: A Home For All, or A New, Cheap, Convenient, and Superior Mode of Building.” Fowler claimed that the ideal but impractical home shape is circular, but the octagon closely approximates the sphere while being much easier to build.
The McElroy Octagon House in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco (the area used to be dairy farms) was built in 1861. It was a family home through the 1920s until it was purchased by a utility company that neglected its upkeep. [Atlas Obscura]
The Tower of The Winds, Athens Greece
This tower lies below the Acropolis in Greece and with great height around the surrounding city, and the fact that it had 8 sun dials and a water clock makes it one of the first clock towers in the world.
The Tower of the Winds, also called horologion (timepiece), is an octagonal Pentelicmarbleclocktower on the Romanagora in Athens. The structure features a combination of sundials, a water clock and a wind vane. It was supposedly built by Andronicus of Cyrrhus around 50 BC, but according to other sources might have been constructed in the 2nd century BC before the rest of the forum. [Wikipedia]
Liaodi Pagoda, China
This is an 8 sided pagoda in China was build in the 11th century by the Song Dynasty and is the tallest brick pagoda in the world. A pagoda is a cultural and religious structure very common throughout China and India.
The multistoreyed brick pagoda is octagonal, 84 meters high, and has eleven storeys. It is the tallest of all extant ancient pagodas (and all ancient buildings) in the country. The storeys are well proportioned, giving the pagoda a lofty and elegant appearance. The first storey is relatively high, with a balcony and eaves. The other storeys have eaves but no balconies. The short eaves were built by stacking tier upon tier of bricks around the body of the pagoda. The pagoda’s steeple is composed of a subbase decorated with large honeysuckle leaves, an inverted-bowl-shaped top, an iron disc and a pair of bronze beads. [China.org]
Palatine Chapel, Aachen, Germany
This chapel is a major land mark and tourist attraction in Aachen, Grmany. It was constructed by Emperor Charlemagne between 792 and 805 as part of his palace of Aachen. The rest of the palace is gone and the chapel is now part of the new structure of the Aachen Cathedral.
There is a sixteen-sided ambulatory with a gallery overhead encircling the central octagonal dome. The plan and decoration owe much to the sixth-century Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna. Indeed Charlemagne visited Ravenna three times, the first in 787. In that year he wrote to Pope Hadrian I and requested “mosaic, marbles, and other materials from floors and walls” in Rome and Ravenna, for his palace.[Wikipedia]
Valberg Tårnet – Stavanger, Norway
The Valberg tower (Valbergtårnet) was constructed in 1850. The architect was Chr. Grosch. The tower was the permanent lodging of the watchmen in Stavanger. Among their duties was to alert the people in town when there was a fire. [Visit Norway]
Kaple sv. Cyrila a Metodeje – Moravské Knínice, Czech Republic
I couldn’t find any information on this 8 sided structure near the Czech town of Moravské Knínice. It is clearly a Christina sanctuary or chapel and is on it’s on in a pasture with trees a short distance from the town. Here it is on a map.
Leicester Tower, UK
The battle of Evesham in 1265 was where Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester was defeated. This tower was erected in the year 1842 by Edward Rudge on the site where Simon de Montfort died. [waymarking.com]
There are actually many more 8 sided buildings in the world. The best like I found is the waymarking.com link below and the Wikipedia list of octagon houses. These were just the most interesting to me. If you have more info or photos about these, of if you know of one that is more interesting, please post a comment.