A forerunner in promoting environmentally friendly architecture was engineer Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller. He sought to realize the idea of "doing more with less," and in building design, he tried to popularize the half-circle geodesic dome. Made up of interconnected triangles, which use a minimum of materials to create an open space for living, the domes were thought to be ideal because of their low cost and sturdiness [source: Black Mountain College].
An earlier form of semi-sphere living was the yurt, which goes back thousands of years to traditional Mongolian tent living. With circular walls built up in one layer or many layers of circles, a yurt is kind of a strong tent that survives harsh conditions and has a simple set up.
Both of these forms are organic, borrowing from the design of natural forms on the Earth and in the body -- such as cells -- and they use fewer materials. Yurts, domes and other organic forms are not the most traditional choice in contemporary eco-friendly housing, but manufacturers in North America sell homes in the style of domes and tents in an affordable range. And in some parts of Asia and Africa this traditional style is still the most popular, sturdy and economical choice.