Roger Magill’s circular pre-fab house which weathered Hurricane Charley with zero damage.

Roger Magill’s circular pre-fab house which weathered Hurricane Charley with zero damage. (Sarah Coward / The News-Press)

Is round stronger than square? Round house survives Hurricane Charley

A round house survives a hurricane? It did and we think it’s pretty cool.

An article appeared on’s website in July, highlighting the fact that something as simple as changing the shape of your home can increase its strength dramatically.

When Hurricane Charley hit Port Charlotte, Florida in 2004, Roger Magill took refuge in his wooden round house, built by Asheville, N.C.-based Deltec Homes, he had assembled only a few months before. After the storm, Magill was surprised to find his was the only house in the neighborhood to emerge unscathed, reported Dick Hogan of The News-Press in Fort myers, Florida.

“On our street we were the only ones who were OK,” Hogan quotes Magill as saying. “We didn’t have a penny of damage.”

In the article, Magill says the house across the street from his lost its roof and the next door neighbors suffered 51% damage to their home. In addition, he said the house down the street was practically collapsed.

Deltec Homes in Asheville, N.C., shipped the prefabricated house to Magill, according to Hogan. In the article, Joseph Schlenk, director of sales and marketing for Deltec claims the round house is more aerodynamic than a traditional box-shaped home so the wind cannot create enough pressure on any side of the building, and we agree.

David South, Jr, Vice-President of the Monolithic Dome Institute, explains why in his article, Technical Journal—Think Round. He says the domed shape is superior in strength to a box shape because of a combination of vertical and horizontal components—the double curve. According to South, the double curve distributes pressure evenly throughout the structure, preventing stress from concentrating in one spot.

Hogan reported that Magill’s house was made extra strong because the wood used in the frame is twice as strong as the wood available in most lumberyards. Can you imagine how strong a house of this shape would be if it were made out of concrete?

In Hogan’s article, Magill says, “During Charley, we listened to the wind whistling around the house, literally. We didn’t hear the moan of the wind.” He also states that he wouldn’t build anything but a round house in Florida, based on his experience.

Read the full article, Round houses fare best against hurricanes by Dick Hogan, The News-Press in Fort myers, Florida, for additional details of Magill’s experience.