The Circle while being a pure natural form has been used to create a space where all are forced to focus at its center, which is where the gladiators fought each other to death in the Colosseum in Rome, and which had a capacity to seat 50,000 people, in contrast the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, built around the time of the Ming and Qing Dynasties used the circle to represent the concept of heaven.
Closer home, our Parliament (1927) stands for the wheel of justice – equal to all, while the Royal Albert Hall, in London used the circular shape to gain maximum acoustic effect and has had the world’s leading artists delivering scintillating performances since 1871.
More recent buildings based on circular design include 30 St Mary Axe which opened in London’s primary financial district in 2004 and is more popularly known as the “Gherkin” for its unorthodox layout and appearance. Torre Agbar, Barcelona, which opened in 2005 is a 38-storey tower owned by the multinational group Agbar which has its corporate headquarters in the building.
Precursors include the Rotunda(1965, England) , Capitol Records Building (1956, Los Angeles) and the Marina City (1978,Chicago) which was a “city within a city”, featuring numerous on-site facilities including a theater, gym, swimming pool, ice rink, bowling alley, stores, restaurants, and, of course, a marina- the forerunner to the numerous multi facility complexes that abound in all metros today.