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What’s the Climate Risk of These Weirdly Round Homes?

This week’s hottest real estate listings, ranked by climate risk.

San Marino house.
Heatmap Illustration/Chang Group/Compass

Glued to real estate posts on The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal , Dwell , Spaces , The Modern House, or Architectural Digest and wondering how those gorgeous homes will hold up in the next decades? I have you covered.

Heatmap has partnered with my new climate risk platform, Habitable . Every week, we add a climate risk score to the real estate listings featured in the news over the past seven days and ask: Could you live here as the climate changes?

Using a model developed by a team of Berkeley data scientists at Climate Check, Habitable scores each property for heat, flood, drought, and fire risk on a scale of 1-10. One represents the lowest risk and 10 is the highest. Our rating for each hazard is based on climate change projections through 2050. (You can check your own home’s climate risk here. )

For today’s edition, I apply the Habitable Index to see what’s the climate risk of the many (strange but true) round homes featured in the news this week. Read on to find out what is coming around for the houses that go around!

1. Lighthouse Goals

Nobska lighthouse. Wikipedia Commons

A lighthouse in Woods Hole (Falmouth), Massachussetts, goes up for sale this month. The picturesque, cylindrica Nobska Lighthouse Tower will go up for auction along with an historic shingled Cape-style home. Because this lighthouse is on a hill overlooking the coast, there is amazingly no flood risk, no fire risk, low drought, and heat tempered by the sea breezes. A habitable lighthouse? Absolutely. But you’ll have to get in line behind me.

Featured on NPR and listed for auction .

2. Take me to your swankienda.


Have you ever heard of a swankienda? It’s a first for me, but apparently it’s a word in Houston circles referring to ‘unique’ Southern architecture. This iconic disc shaped home in an upscale historic neighborhood in Houston fits the bill and the shape does not stop at the roof. Inside is a giant sunken rotunda living room and curved fireplace and walls. Even the sofa is circular. With surprisingly low heat risk considering it’s in Houston, the house has no flood or fire risk and other than the mosquitos should be quite habitable if you can live without architectural symmetry.

Featured in Circa (!) and listed for $550,000 .

3. This house may send you round the bend.

Rotating house. Zillow

Hilariously advertised as the only rotating home in San Diego, this architectural ‘showcase’ does offer spectacular views from its lofty perch on top of Mount Helix. And you can choose your view depending on the light, since the house does actually rotate 360 degrees. If you can live with no hard corners, do not get motion sick, and don’t mind extreme drought and some fire risk, then take this house for a spin!

Featured on @zillowgonewild and listed for $5,300,000 .

4. Won’t be around for long.

James Evan house. Photo: Zillow

This is such a cool place and a great buy, so it’s depressing to know that it's not going to end well. On the bright side, this unit and several more are available at the Round Dune seasonal apartment complex — which opens every April through October. Built by James Evans in 1963, who studied under Louis Kahn, this oceanfront complex made up of four round two story buildings in East Quoque will be fun to visit or live at until it’s underwater.

Featured @thecreativesagen t and listed for $319,000 .

5. Curv-a-licious.

Silver Lake house. Photo: Zillow

A Streamline Moderne (art deco) estate is for sale in Silver Lake in Los Angeles. Built by architect Saul Harris Brown in 1938, the home features many curved architectural elements including an equally curvaceous garden designed by famed modern architect Gregory Ain.

Full of rounded interior and exterior walls, garden walls, balconies and staircases, the circuitous house is at high risk for drought, moderate risk for fire, and has little flood or heat risk. With some luck, this historic structure might live to see its 100th birthday.

Featured on @thecreativesagent and listed for $2,999,000 .

6. Crowd ‘round.

San Marino house. Chang Group /Compass

To be fair, this Spanish Revival House in San Marino, California, which just went up for sale for $18,200,000, is not crazy rounded in its architecture. But the current owners renovated the garden arcade to create the home’s main event: a koi pond with a raised circular island with seating and a fire pit. Probably a bad idea for many reasons, including the extreme fire and drought risk for the property and the region. Make room koi, we’re jumping in.

Featured in Dirt and listed for $18,200,000 .

7. Beam it up.

UFO house. Keller Williams Realty Southland Partners

Photo: Keller Williams Realty Southland Partners

This poor spaceship house listed for sale in Kansas City, Missouri, this week can’t catch a break! The namecalling! Saucer shaped. Resembling a UFO. The house was even advertised with a drawing of an alien on the front door and a spaceship over the house. Is it really that bad?

Well, it’s strangely shaped. And the rounded but also oddly angled interiors don’t make the place very habitable. Neither does the climate risk — with a 10/10 chance for flooding, it will also be extremely hot. Maybe it’s time for this house to contact its extraterrestrial friends and boldly go where no house has gone before.

Featured in the New York Post and listed for $349,000.

Ann Marie Gardner

Ann Marie Gardner is an award-winning editor and entrepreneur. She writes about design and climate and just launched Habitable, a newsletter and tool to assess your home's risk from climate change. You can read it here: Read More

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Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

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