A few odds and ends about octagon, and other polygon, construction are contained here, mostly with an eye to contemporary construction. Octagon homes built in the fad period of about 1848 to 1865 would likely be too expensive to build today, given the relative material costs of everything. What was an inexpensive home in about 1855 relied on the very high quality wood that was readily available, and almost free at the time. Suggested methods of construction during the fad period are detailed in Orson Fowler's book "The Octagon House: A Home for All," last reprinted by Dover Books in about 1973. ISBN 0-486-22887-8.
The following table can be used to roughly compute the floor area for a symmetric structure, depending on the number of sides:
|Number of sides.||Factor|
Take the length of one side of a structure, multiply it by itself, and multiply the result by the appropriate factor from the table above. Example. If the length of one side of a 4 sided figure is 10 feet, the floor area is then 10 x 10 x 1, or 100 square feet. Another example. If the length of one side of an 8 sided (octagon) building is 18 feet, the floor area is then 18 x 18 x 4.83, or about 1565 square feet.
The floor areas do not take into account walls and other obstacles, and are thus maximum figures.
In his book, Orson Fowler provided a few example floor plans, but basically
said that each builder should provide their own, to meet their own needs.
The result is not clear, since at present there are only a few floor plans,
or fractional floor plans available for this inventory. Available floor
plans for octagon houses on this site at present are:
One could visit those octagon houses that are open to the public, and gather plans in this way. It seems likely that plans, analogous to blue prints, were never made for the houses made in the 1848 to 1865 time period. People probably made up their own plans, or perhaps copied another house.
Dan R. Martin, owner and builder of a hexagon house in Wheelock, Vermont, has provided a sequence of photographs that show each phase of construction, from logs obtained on his own property, to the finished house. The photographs are largely self explanatory.
View the photograph numbers in sequence to see how the house was built.
Mark Harmison is in the process of constructing an octagon house
at 2042 S. 500th Ave., in Ames, Iowa. His
web site contains a wealth of
detail about the design and construction of his home.
Following are a few web sites for companies that build octagon, hexagon, and other multi-sided homes and buildings.. They are only intended to be starting points for information. Nothing is known in detail about any of them.
The following site contains books with floor plans from the Victorian era. Some have plans for octagon homes.