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Milkwood Blog

Building our first roundhouse

December 8, 2012 | Build It, Building, Natural Building | 13 comments | Author:

milkwood roundhouse 01

Reciprocating roof roundhouses are pretty darn cool. They look gorgeous and they are a very good way to quickly make a strong structure with simple, available materials, the right knowledge and a bunch of willing hands.

We’ve been researching reciprocating roof structures, but hadn’t as yet had a chance to build one. Luckily Harris has been champing at the bit to get a roundhouse up since attending a workshop on them in New Zealand. This last week became the window of opportunity…

Fresh cut pole wood from our sapling forest... a little wonky but straight enough for this purpose...
Fresh cut pole wood from our sapling forest… a little wonky but straight enough for this purpose…
Reciprocating roof roundhouse diagram by Huckleberry

The instigator of this build was the fact that Harris’s friend Kerry Mulligan was coming to Milkwood for a week. Kerry is an engineer and architectural tutor who teaches Natural Building in New Zealand, so here was our chance. Go team roundhouse!

Also on board was Chris (harris’s brother) and market garden intern Jeremy, who serendipitously did the same roundhouse workshop that Harris attended while in New Zealand. It all came together.

milkwood roundhouse 03

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I really love the form of this structure – and the slightly wonky timbers compliment it, to my eye anyway.

It seemed almost a shame to clad the roof when the form was so beautiful, but the whole point of this structure was to provide a shady space in the market garden, so clad it we must.

Some hessian was got from Craig at Morrigan Farm (cheers Craig), and Kerry and Harris made it happen.

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Many thanks to Harris, Kerry, Chris and Jeremy for making such a beautiful, functional thing. May there be many more to come.

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milkwood roundhouse 01

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  • Carol December 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply

    Functional and beautiful! What more could you want?

  • Alex December 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Reply

    Love it! Those spuds are looking mighty good too!

  • Chris December 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Reply

    Will be very handy come this summer. Great work. Lovely use of natural resources too.

  • annie December 10, 2012 at 7:31 am | Reply

    The hessian doesn’t detract from the beauty of the roof at all. how gorgeous. I want one!!!

  • lucyzane December 10, 2012 at 8:35 am | Reply

    it is beautiful – inspiring – good on you for sharing and of course i want one too!

  • […] « Building our first roundhouse […]

  • sandy :) December 10, 2012 at 9:48 am | Reply

    Looks great,, just the thing for a little shade between jobs..
    Sandy :)

  • Barbara December 11, 2012 at 11:10 am | Reply

    Hello Milkwood crew
    Those vegies in your garden look fantastic. It must have been the expert hoers and planters of seedlings that influenced the growth.(market garden participants in July!!) And I love the photo looking up through the round house structure, looks like a sunflower pattern. Congrats to Michael as I can see your vision taking shape.

  • Chris December 12, 2012 at 7:55 am | Reply

    A good construction description of a light weight version of the reciprocal roof can be found in; BUILD A YURT – THE LOW COST MONGOLIAN ROUND HOUSE, By Len Charney.

    1. milkwoodkirsten December 12, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply

      yep that book’s referenced here:

  • Riss December 12, 2012 at 11:43 am | Reply

    The most lovely gazebo that I have seen!

    How strong do you think it will be in withstanding wind gusts?

    1. milkwoodkirsten December 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Reply

      very! Had high winds the last 3 days and it was all good.

  • narf77 December 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply

    Time to put the Melaleuca armillaris that need thinning out from the teatree garden at the front of the property to good use! Might only last a year or two but hey, a great way to use the poles and get some shade on Serendipity Farm :) Cheers for the instructions, pictures and wonderful idea :)


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