Arch House: A Different Way to Build

When Gregg Carlsen and his wife decided to build their dream home, they based their house design on the classic arch: an elegant, economical, and nearly indestructible architectural structure.



Handbuilt Arch House
Without the generous help of family and friends, this owner-builder project would not have been possible.
PHOTO: JIM BRANDENBURG
arc home
Eastern and southern exposures of this hybrid design are generously glazed, while the west and north are earth-bermed.
GREGG CARLSEN
Arc Home First Floor Plans
First Floor: The entry provides access to both the main living areas and the isolated office space above.
DON OSBY
arc home frame
Continous, curved trusses (31 of them in the Carlsen Archome) transfer roof-wall loads to oversized top plates, making a barrel-vault structure one of the sturdiest shapes known.
GREGG CARLSEN
bulldozed farmhouse
A 90-year-old, moldering farmhouse was home to the Carlsens during the three years of construction.
GREGG CARLSEN
Arc Home Third Floor Plans
Third Floor: The stairway continues to the third-floor balcony, which overlooks the kitchen-dining area.
DON OSBY
Arc Home Second Floor Plans
Second Floor: An open U-shaped stairway leads to the three second-floor bedrooms, the baths and a laundry area.
DON OSBY
curved frame
A crane eased the raising of the 500-pound trusses. The east end gable was framed on the ground.
GREGG CARLSEN
curved planks
Truss parts were cut with circular saws and jigs.
GREGG CARLSEN
Arc home beams
Sheathing conformed easily to the gentle curve of the main roof.
GREGG CARLSEN
raising trusses
Pieces were laminated, glued and stapled.
GREGG CARLSEN
Arc home interior
Because the roof is self-supporting, partitions can be placed at whim.
GREGG CARLSEN
Little boy with hammer
Zachary Carlsen pitches in.
GREGG CARLSEN
stairs
Carlsen and his carpenter friends took particular pleasure in the finish work.
GREGG CARLSEN











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