- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 26 Apr 2017
The Octagon style is a distinctive and remarkable yet relatively rare architectural style, which enjoyed a brief period of popularity primarily in the years from 1850 until 1870.
Previously, Adam- or Federal-style buildings had occasionally featured octagonal wings or projections, so the octagon form was not a new creation. Several prominent designers (including Thomas Jefferson) built octagon buildings in the United States in the late 18th and early 19th century, but the octagon house form seldom appeared until it was reintroduced to the public through the writings of Orson Squire Fowler in 1848.
He viewed the octagon form as a healthful, economical, and modern innovation in housing and argued that it offered increased sunlight and ventilation, as well as savings on heating and building costs.
Octagon houses were built across the US but were more of an anomaly than a common style. The Northeast and Midwest had the greatest number of octagon buildings. Octagon houses often incorporated elements of other styles, the Greek and Gothic Revival styles, and especially the Italianate.
Few residences were built in the octagon style after 1865. However, the octagon form continued to be used for barn and outbuilding construction from the mid to late-1800s. Tollhouse and railroad stations of this era were sometimes built in the octagon form as well.
Typical identifiable features of the octagon style include the following:
- Octagonal shaped building.
- Low pitched hipped roof.
- Wide overhanging eaves.
- Brackets at the cornice.
- Partial or fully encircling porch.
- Octagonal cupola on some versions.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Brokenshire launches an implementation plan for the recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt.
BSRIA publication provides guidance about the capture and analysis of big data.
Gove launches a waste and resources strategy for England.
Only 9% of construction workers are 24 or younger.
Blighting local areas, preventing investment and and encouraging anti-social behaviour.
Sharing knowledge about the conservation of the built and historic environment.
CIOB launches a call to improve quality in the built environment.
Vastint gets permission for a 6.6 hectare site to support the expansion of Leeds’ city core.
One of the Isle of Man’s best 1960s buildings.
Using renewable energy in developing countries - QSAND and Loughborough University Research collaboration.
From frost damage to sulphate attack, common causes of defects in brickwork.