Veeery long time ago, when people didn’t have so many building tools and architecture schools, they found dry shelters under trees and warm homes inside caves, as animals do today. They started to create similar structures able to protect them from bad weather, beasts and rivals.

Round like houses in the Wonderful Land of Oz

The oldest buildings were round. Who knows why, because the fire pits were encircled with stones? The round shape makes living different then and now. Just imagine how’d be to live in a round room. How would you bookshelf around curved walls?  

People started to build stone round houses some 10.000 years ago, when they began to settle down and plant their food rather than hunt it. They needed to wait for the crops of figs and cereals to grow. But where? They needed to store the food, for they couldn’t eat the whole crop at once. Again where? In pit holes, covered with thatch, later raised above the ground with stone walls.

neolithic round stone 1
Round stone houses with fireplace

Mud is cool!

Mud is good to build. Just think at your sand castles at the seaside. If you mix sand, water, clay, pebbles and add some straws, you’ll get an elastic mud that, sun-dried, becomes resistant. Hand-shaped mudbricks became popular in Neolithic (that is the end of the Stone Age). The mudbrick buildings look more like ours because their shape is more rectangular. The round architecture gave way to the rectangular one. The round plan (that is the imprint of a building on earth) will be later used for monumental buildings such as temples, churches, theaters, concert halls, but very rarely for houses.

neolithic mudbrick house
Mudbrick rectangular house

Yummy croissant or Fertile Crescent

Do you like croissants? A croissant is crescent-shaped. Overlap a huge imaginary croissant on the Eastern Mediterranean’s coast, roughly upon today’s Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Southwestern Turkey. This is the Fertile Crescent. On that rich soil started people to settle, to produce food and to build … our civilization.

Nowadays the Fertile Crescent turned into a War Crescent that swiped out many of the earliest buildings that could have showed us how people built and lived before.

Inspired by the first houses

The stone roundish houses seem today part of the fantasy realm dwelt by hobbits, munchkins and fairies. The rectangular mudbrick houses returned to our time as earth architecture. Earth architecture is the old way of building with soil, which proves to be available, cheap, friendly to the environment and beautiful. You can also get inspired by the first houses!

Cowboy houses in Australia
Earth architecture in the 2000: Cowboy houses in Australia behind a wavy 230 m long earth wall (source:, photo: Edward Birch)
Earth architecture in the 1800s: Church in New Mexico, USA (source: Wikipedia, photo: Travis K. Witt)