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Celebrity Dome

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As the Monolithic Dome becomes more popular, how does it keep its celebrity status from going to its head? Find out in Barry Byers’ latest comic. (Continued…)

Those Pesky Tourists

Image: “Those Pesky Tourists!” A conventional cabin visits the Monolithic Dome Resort.

What happens when a conventional cabin visits the Monolithic Dome Resort? They become a pesky tourist, full of questions. (Continued…)

Hail and Bullets

Image: David B. South takes aim at a dome with his .30-06 rifle during a bulletproof demonstration for a Dallas TV station in the late ’90s.

Can a Monolithic Dome stop a .30-06 bullet? Find out in David South’s latest President’s Sphere, where he discusses this, and the durability of the Monolithic Dome’s exterior, recounting several stories of domes hit by extreme hail storms with virtually no lasting damage. (Continued…)

The Strength Test

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What happens when a Monolithic Dome and a conventional home go head-to-head in a weightlifting contest? Find out in Barry Byers’ latest cartoon, “Strength Test.” (Continued…)

The Dangers of Low-Profile Monolithic Domes

Image: DOME PROFILE 1:8 on Stemwall – At 1:8, construction becomes extremely dangerous. The 1:8 ratio is pure foolishness. It works where non air-forming is done because the application of the concrete is not going to be a big deal in the shape, but with the air-forming it is a big deal and it is extremely important not to play with it.
(Remember, as the side thrust goes up, the pressures go up and the chance of distortion goes way up.)

In David B. South’s latest President’s Sphere, he addresses the risks of constructing low-profile Monolithic Domes. Using his forty years of experience building Monolithic Domes and thin-shell pioneer, Dr. Arnold Wilson’s engineering expertise, he cautions dome-builders that dropping the profiles of Airformed domes can have catastrophic consequences with no appreciable benefits. (Continued…)

The Legend of Domestone

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Have we mentioned that Monolithic Domes are super strong? Cuzzins Jeb and Joe found that out the hard way in Barry Byers’ latest Monolithic Dome Comic, The Legend of Domestone(Continued…)

Salt Water Concrete—A Reality

Image: Basalt reinforced domes would be an attractive, low-cost solution for coastal communities. Small homes (similar to this steel reinforced EcoShell) could be built by hand.

Can you imagine being able to build a concrete dome on the seashore using only the available sea water and beach sand? David B. South addresses the building of Ecoshells using salt water and salty sand in his latest “President’s Sphere.” The use of basalt rebar makes this not only possible, but completely simple and feasible. (Continued…)

What the customer REALLY wants

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This cartoon depicts in a funny way what often happens to building projects. A school or prospective home owner will describe their needs to a contractor and will very often end up with an end result far different than what was needed. (Continued…)

Financing Monolithic Dome Homes

Image: Monolithic Dome homes cut energy costs by a minimum of 50%. The government wants us to save energy, but will not allow loans for Monolithic Dome homes.
Home of Monolithic President, David B. South.

Since the fall of 2007, financing homes, especially Monolithic Dome homes, has become a big problem. The federal government, determined to keep the banks from failing, established new rules for home financing. Those rules helped the banks and some home owners, but they destroyed the progress being made by builders of energy-efficient, greener, better homes. How do we get those rules reversed? (Continued…)

A Timely Message To All

Image: The Avalon School Multipurpose Center is now more than ten years old. It has survived much use by hundreds of students and community residents. It has also served as a tornado shelter sever times. One such tornado caused significant damage to other parts of the school and neighborhood. But those in the Monolithic Dome remained totally safe.
See: http://www.monolithic.com/stories/feature-school-avalon-highschool

Recently, the superintendent of the Avalon School District was asked if they planned to let school out because tornadoes were bouncing around the area. He said, “No. My children have no homes that they can go to that are as safe as our school. What I am doing is inviting the parents to come here and be with their children in a safe place.” (Continued…)

Goals and the Big Picture

Goals are like road maps. If you reach for a goal and get side tracked, it is no more serious than driving for a destination and missing a turn. On the other hand, very few people ever get anywhere by wandering aimlessly. (Continued…)

Cost to cool your building

Image: This Texas school has two conventional buildings, each with 20 air conditioning units along its back wall. That’s 40 units for just one tax-supported school! What does it cost to install and run 40 ac units in hot, humid Texas?

Like many traditional schools, this building has a line of 20 air conditioning units along its back wall. The companion building has another 20 units along its back wall. That’s 40 AC units at just one school! Consider what it costs to install 20 units. How much electrical do those 20 units require? How much copper? How much just plain expense does it take to install and run 20 units? (Continued…)

To Architects and Designers: Tax Rebate 179-D

Many people do not know that there are some serious tax implications for designers of public-funded structures. Such buildings include schools, city halls – anything paid for with public monies. I urge architects and designers to review Section 179-D of the tax code. You as a designer can get a tax rebate of up to a $1.80 per square foot when you design these publicly financed buildings. (Continued…)

An Attractive, New Augment

Image: When Mike South built a new, small dome behind his home, he designed and built a tilted-out augment over the front entrance and the windows in back.  The front augment protects the door and provides shelter for folks entering the dome, while the back augment protects the windows.

When I decided to build a dome behind my house, I wanted to do something a little different. So we built a tilted-out augment onto the dome. The augment provides good protection from the elements. It keeps the doors and windows out of the rain, and it should make them last longer. (Continued…)

Dome enhanced with Monolithic Stucco

Image: Aerial photo of the structure.

In 2008, Monolithic Constructors, Inc. completed work on a 50′ × 25′ central dome, flanked by two 36′ × 16′ side domes for Wayne Brannon of Decatur, Texas. About four years later, we were asked to coat the domes, that had rock applied to their bottom sections, with Monolithic Stucco. (Continued…)

Introducing the Quickshot

Image: The Three Hole Model:  It comes with three holes, three small jets, three large jets, two jet plugs, and two hole plugs.

This handheld shotcrete sprayer is easy to load and has a surprisingly good throughput. We have used it to spray a number of small projects, and its fast, efficient design has saved us time and money. Its all-steel construction means that it is long lasting and will prove to be a good investment. (Continued…)

Monolithic Domes and Hail Damage

Recently, a school superintendent interested in a Monolithic Dome for his campus told me about a conversation he had with an architect, who will remain nameless. According to the superintendent, the architect had told him that Monolithic’s Airform fabric and sprayed-in foam insulation were “fragile and would sustain severe damage in a hailstorm.” I’m always concerned about such statements. (Continued…)

Monolithic’s Whitewash Additive: MonoAcrylic

Image: This entire building was coated with modified “white wash”. The 21,000 square foot surface is spectacular. And as in days of old the “white wash” keep insects at bay. The spiders that infested the place are now all gone.

A few years ago, we were faced with re-painting Bruco, our 14,000 square foot manufacturing facility. The area to be painted was the wall and ceiling, about 21,000-square-foot. So David South, president of Monolithic, led a research team that began looking into the matter. (Continued…)

Rebar Splicing and Rebar Sizing

Image: Footing rebar splice lap-lenth requirements

Monolithic’s recommended procedure for splicing rebar has changed. For years and years, we just overlapped the rebar and tied the bars together. In fact, when I first started we overlapped and welded the bars together. But it turns out that unless you’re using A706 rebar – which is very expensive – welding the rebar is not allowed. So we recommend that you stay away from welding. (Continued…)

Your New House: Investment or Money Pit?

A home comes in two parts; the first part is the investment. With the investment comes its value as a family domicile, a place of refuge (if it is strong enough to be a refuge), and a place for the family to gather, work, struggle and grow together. The second part of the house is the money pit. That’s the cost of maintenance, fuel, electricity and manpower it takes to maintain and operate a house. The money pit is where you throw hard-earned cash that’s never seen again by you, the homeowner. (Continued…)

Preparedness Takes Preparation

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As a young man, I recall sitting in church and looking at a large painted mural at the front of our chapel. It depicted the parable of the ten virgins – five wise and five foolish. I knew that the five foolish ones had arrived without sufficient oil while the five wise ones had plenty. I also knew that when the bridegroom showed up, the smarties who came prepared were allowed to go in with him; the others were not. At the time, I didn’t understand that; it all seemed a bit cruel to me. As I matured, I realized that preparedness definitely has its rewards. (Continued…)

Chris Zweifel: Consulting Engineer

Image: Chris Zweifel

Chris Zweifel, now 41 and successfully operating ZZ Consulting, said that he always wanted to be an engineer. The question was what kind since engineering encompasses many branches. “I couldn’t make up my mind – had a hard time figuring it out,” Chris admits. Finally, about the time he began working on his bachelor’s degree, he decided on Civil Engineering. (Continued…)

Curved Dome Walls: Easy and Fun to Decorate

Image: The indoor courtyard entry at the Atalaya del Vulcan

Monolithic Dome walls are not only good for our environment, safe from natural disasters and cost effective, they’re easy and fun to decorate. Yes, curved walls are finally coming into their own. What decorators used to puzzle over and dread now has them cheering and praising. (Continued…)

Shelter: It ain’t what it used to be!

In 1943 Abraham Maslow published his eye-opening paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, that featured a pyramid of human needs. Shelter,, a universal human need fell into the second longest level of this pyramid. But just what was shelter for the average American in 1943 and in the years that followed? For most of us it meant having a roof over our heads – a reliable one that could protect us from the rain, wind, cold and heat. That, however, is no longer true. (Continued…)

Fly Ash Properties and Uses

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Fly ash closely resembles volcanic ashes used in production of the earliest known hydraulic cements about 2,300 years ago. Those cements were made near the small Italian town of Pozzuoli – which later gave its name to the term pozzolan. A pozzolan is a siliceous/aluminous material that, when mixed with lime and water, forms a cementitious compound. Fly ash is the best known, and one of the most commonly used, pozzolans in the world. (Continued…)

Rebar: Bend or Don’t Bend?

To bend or not to bend? That is the question if you’re talking about bending reinforcing steel bars (rebar) that are partially embedded in concrete, as we do in the Monolithic Dome construction process. (Continued…)

The Perils of Selective Compliance

Several years ago a teacher in our school district decided to show the modern version of Last of the Mohicans as part of her literature class. The movie is R-rated and one of the students protested. She said that she and her family “never watched R-rated movies.” (Continued…)

A Green Roof

Image: We covered an EcoShell garage with a combination of trumpet vine and Lady Banks roses. First we planted only the roses. Vinyl rope was used for the climbing tool. The roses grew about 10’ before they started growing away from the dome. Then trumpet vines were added and tied to the roses, which helped the climbing effect. You can see the dome is almost completely covered.

Check out nature’s way of coating a dome by scrolling through the pictures. (Click the top image and scroll thru the images and captions.)  This unique way provides protection as well as beauty to the outside of your dome. (Continued…)