2 July 2014 |

The modern architecture is filled with plenty of boxes, gables and the occasional curve. What about cylinders? This style was popular in the early 20th century. Designers used cylinders and rounded corners to bring the appearance of streamlined movement.

Cylinders are quite rare in modern and contemporary architecture but can look great if done properly.


There are two issues behind the reasons why cylinders are so rarely used in buildings. How do they relate to the rest of the house? Formerly most cylinders were stairs but in modern projects cylinders can be set in front of adjacent walls or be flush with them. Sometimes cylinders act like an elbow with the rest of the house pivots around it.

The house of actor Bryan Cranston has a cylinder in the middle of the main elevation. It signals the entrance and breaks up the facade into smaller volumes.


The cylinder holds a stair, and this is correct considering its proximity to the entrance and its location in the middle of the building. There are lots of natural light going through the windows and a skylight.


This house in Long Island, New York, was designed by architect David Ling for himself. As we see, it includes a cylinder that stands behind a slatted wooden wall.


The cylinder holds a stair with a skylight. Such skylight can be used like a sundial, especially that the stair is open to the second-floor living space.


In this house in London we see a cylinder as an internal volume shaping space and creating emphasis.


The cylinder shows the end of the kitchen and then leads us to the stairs. Besides it hides the pantry.


Look at the scale of a cylinder. It is large and perfectly meets the entire house.



Cylinders can also look great resting on an elevation. It ends that composition like a chimney.

But it is not a chimney – it is a stair covered with a glass roof that brings much natural light.


This stone stair is great and it seems like the rest of the house hinges upon. It has fountain above the window.


Inside the cylinder is also great – it looks medieval but modern because has a glass roof and the railings.



This cylinder acts like an elbow, located where the “arms” of the house meet.



The cylinder is situated next to the entrance providing an almost industrial agriculture appearance. It is covered by metal cladding like the adjacent wall as well.


Here we see a stairwell inserted in the cylinder that allows much light to come to the house and adds some originality to this side of it.

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