Sometime around 1966 Richard Foster was driving on Olmstead Hill, Road near Wilton, Connecticut and came upon a green dip in the landscape which he referred to as “a perfect amphitheater”. Shortly thereafter this four acre plot would become the site of his “Circambulant House” or as it is also known – The Round House.
Over the next two years he would work with various contractors and craftsman to construct a unique home for his family. One that could rotate 360 degrees and provide any room in the house a picturesque vantage point of the landscape. The house combines engineering from Germany, local Connecticut Steel and stone from the Dolemites. Foster went through 5 design concepts before arriving on the circular home. He felt that such a house would compliment the landscape by giving the inhabitants unfettered views from any room at any time.
The Fosters made the Round House their home for 35 years. The mechanisms that rotate the house have required little maintenance over the years. Features such as the corten steel circular porch, wood shingles, stone pavers have given the home a well worn patina while also connecting it to the local surroundings. When Richard Foster died in 2002 the home passed out of the family’s hands and eventually arrived into new ownership.
In 2012 the home underwent a deep restoration. Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects re-envisioned the interior of the space along with a renovation of the exterior garage and driveway. Home systems that were cutting edge in the late sixties were upgraded for the day and the exterior of the house was restored very much to it’s original finish.
In 2014 renowned Landscape designer Darrel Morrison was commissioned to redevelop the 4 acre property. Morrison’s primary goal for the landscape was to restore a balanced and complimentary combination of vegetation native to the Connecticut area. This includes reintroducing combinations of wildflowers, tall grasses, trees, stones and even native cactus.
Special thanks for providing resources and support to help make this web based archive about Richard Foster’s Round House possible goes to Craig Foster, Darrel Morrison, Marc Wolf, Mack Scogin, Merrill Elam, Erica Stoller, ESTO, Iwan Baan, Anna Fixen and Architectural Record.