The Spiral House is a 5-story spiral structure that "turns" 2 1/4 times around its axis: the central column of a 32-foot stainless steel and glass spiral staircase. Built with a lot of help from local builders, artisans, and friends, the house is constructed of concrete, steel, bluestone, wood, glass, and copper, and located in New York State's Hudson Valley.
The design is based on ancient precepts of sacred geometry and sacred architecture. The essential purpose of any structure — a house, a temple, or, for that matter, a sculpture —is to unite the cosmic, architectural, and human realms. A sacred structure should allow a sense of the Divine to be tangibly experienced, and also be a meeting place of heaven and earth, where the practical and the spiritual are balanced and integrated with the environment.
The spiral is a universal form found in all cultures, since the very beginning of mankind's markings. It is the shape of our galaxy and of our DNA, and so unites the macrocosm of our cosmos with the microcosm of our physiology. The spiral is also a sign of movement and growth, describing a path and connection from the center to its periphery. More than a physical location, the center is symbolic of the Source from which existence is created and to which it returns. Returning to the spiral staircase at the center of the house is returning to the center of the cosmos, and to our own essence.
The curves of our house follow the golden proportions of the nautilus shell. It seems fitting that, in designing a sacred space to live a 21st century life, we would model the shape of the structure on a conscious creature that has survived for over 500 million years. Other principles of sacred geometry are found throughout the house as well
For the longer story about designing and building the house, and the revelations we've experienced living in it, see our book, The Spiral House: Revealing the Sacred in Everyday Life (Rafferty Rocks Press/GArts).
— Tom Gottsleben and Patty Livingston