We are often asked if living in a Monolithic Dome is like living in a cave. It’s hard for some people to imagine a bright and beautiful interior that’s curved. Even more difficult is imagining the possibilities a dome structure provides. Usually people ask questions about hanging pictures or how well furniture fits against the dome wall. Sometimes, however, designers break through the square world and show us how it’s done. In Sweden, a temporary ice hotel is a masterpiece of curved architecture.
We are planning to build one Monolithic Dome and one concrete-only Ecoshell for the Spring Monolithic Dome Builders Workshop. It’s five days of classroom and hands-on experience starting April 5, 2016. Get your hands dirty and come build a dome or two.
The Tupelo City Council approved two Monolithic Dome safe rooms — one for Lee Acres, Mississippi and the other for Theron Nichols Park, Mississippi. Each will be large enough to hold over 1,000 residents during a major storm. FEMA grants will pay 90 percent of the cost.
The Monolithic Dome high school in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin is also becoming a sort of tourist attraction. In a Wisconsin State Journal article, Superintendent Michael Garvey reports adding tour guide to his job. “Garvey frequently hands out hard hats and makes the rounds with taxpayers, area superintendents, construction design professionals and anyone else with a curiosity about the facility scheduled to open for the start of the 2016-17 school year.”
The 550-seat seat Monolithic Dome auditorium is nearly complete for the All Nations Church in Sudbury, Ontario. It’s been a long road. The dome and related buildings began construction in 2011. The congregation is paying for everything as they go. So far they raised $4.5 millon for the project.
Grainews recently profiled Andy and Christina Stender’s family agricultural business. Crowfoot Ag Solutions in Strathmore, Alberta serves over 100 farmers and now includes a Monolithic Dome fertilizer blend plant built in 2014.
The “Disappearing Dome” is for sale. The beautiful dome house on the shore of Lake Michigan is currently used as a vacation home, but the owners would like to sell it. WBAY ran a nice story about the home.
Greg Miller submitted this great HD aerial video of the Catoosa Public Schools safe room under construction. You can see that work continues on the exterior while Monolithic construction crews work inside. The Monolithic Dome concrete shell is expected to be finished before Christmas.
Five Monolithic Domes under construction in Wisconsin will become the first Monolithic Dome school in the state. The Johnson Creek Middle School / High School will include classrooms, gymnasium, cafetorium (cafeteria and small auditorium), administration offices, and more. Good weather and hard work mean that construction is slightly ahead of schedule. Everyone is optimistic it will all be ready for the 2016-17 school year.
Fedor Pavlovskiy is a Monolithic Dome Builders Workshop graduate of April 2014. He recently sent us pictures of a shotcrete pump and 20-foot Ecoshell he built in Russia.
NewsOn6.com has a great story about the a Monolithic Dome inflation in Catoosa, Oklahoma earlier this month. The 136-foot diameter facility will be a cafeteria for the school and a safe shelter during tornadoes for the students and community. There’s an excellent time-lapse of the inflation in the story.
The $7.7 million bond passed for two safe rooms for Hartshorne Public Schools. The larger, 150-foot diameter Monolithic Dome will serve as a full gymnasium at the high school. The smaller, 70-foot diameter Monolithic Dome will be a new library and computer center at the elementary school.
School officials in Hartshorne, Oklahoma want $7.7 million for two safe-rooms — or as we like to think of them — a brand-new, start-of-the-art gymnasium and computer center. It’s quite a different perspective if you think of money serving two purposes. The planned high school gymnasium would be a 150-foot diameter Monolithic Dome with four locker rooms, concessions, offices, a competition basketball court, and seating for 1,200. Plus it’s a tornado shelter! The elementary school gets a brand new library and computer center in a 70-foot diameter dome. And it’s a tornado shelter, too!
The Spring Valley Tribune recently ran a story about Jerry Cleveland and his advocacy of the Monolithic Dome. Cleveland was instrumental in the construction of a K-12 school in Grand Meadow, Minnesota in 1998.
We’re building a new Monolithic Dome home. It’s been ten years since we left Texas and our wonderful Callisto dome house. Although we love living in Cache Valley — it’s like a swiss valley nestled in the northern Utah mountains — we miss our dome. I grew up in domes. My wife and kids lived in a dome for 10 years. I’m part of the dome business. It’s time to build a dome home.
There’s a nice interview with David South by Off The Grid Radio. It’s a podcast where they discuss how the Monolithic Dome resists hurricanes and other disasters.
I’m often asked if there’s a trick to installing fireplaces in a Monolithic Dome. It’s actually pretty straightforward. The real question is, “Do you need the fireplace?” I see the romantic appeal of visiting around a glowing fire or the desire to reduce your heating bill. However, the energy efficiency of the dome typically changes a need for a fireplace into a want.
For many, the mass evacuation for hurricane Rita was a bigger disaster than the storm. Millions left their homes and inched their way north in a Texas sized traffic jam. Many ran out of fuel while parked on the freeway. Others stayed behind only to face the peril of the storm itself. As Eric Besson of the Beaumont Enterprise reports, “Rita showed that, in the worst cases, no matter the decision, few avoid suffering.”
It’s called the Flintstone house. Built in 1976 near San Francisco this all-concrete home was reportedly inspired by the first Monolithic Dome built in 1975. Whether it was or not, the house is a well known landmark in the community as well as a landmark design for inflatable concrete construction. And it’s for sale for the modest California price of $4.2 million.
The architect addressed an audience of school administrators. He proclaimed that no one can affordably build large safe rooms. The best a school could do are small rooms for refuge in an emergency. He was followed by David South who said, yes, you can build a large safe room — disguised as a gym.
Children read new books under a large, friendly mural painted on the domed ceiling. It says, “Read More, Know More, Achieve More”. It’s a motto for the library and a goal for several charities, working together, to build ten Monolithic Dome libraries in the Philippines.
John Belles was interviewed on NPR Morning Edition about his Monolithic Dome that survived the largest wildfire in Washington state history. It’s another in a prolific stream of news articles about the dome. We liked what John told the reporter, “You could build a square house that was nonflammable. There’s lots of advanced materials and whatnot. They still build out of stick, though.”
The Santa Fe Trail High School in Carbondale, Kansas opens their new Monolithic Dome fine arts center in a week. The facility houses a 500 seat theater, band room and choir room. The Osage County Herald-Chronicle reports that the second dome, a gymnasium, is expected to open September 21.
If you missed our Facebook post or the news reports, a Monolithic Dome protected a man during a wildfire in Washington. John Belles rode out the fire inside his Monolithic Dome home that he built in 1999. The news report has spread worldwide.
Time lapse construction video of a Monolithic Dome. Susane Havelka is a PhD candidate at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. They hope to demonstrate the advantages of the Monolithic Dome for people living in the arctic. They call their project the Protosphere.
The Monolithic Dome made it affordable for Wasuma Elementary to build a gymnasium and do so with style. Superintendent Glenn Reid told Mackenzie Mays with the Fresno Bee that he didn’t want people thinking they stepped into a Save Mart Center. Instead, they built a Monolithic Dome and “it does look pretty cool when you step inside.”
This unique and fantastic Monolithic Dome home could be yours for only an essay and an entry fee! Built by the current owners in 1999, the home sits on 10.37 acres of beautiful, rolling countryside in Lowell, Indiana. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from major shopping and dining locations, and just 45 minutes from downtown Chicago. Thyme for Bed is Chicagoland’s ONLY Monolithic Dome Bed & Breakfast!
The fourth Monolithic Dome built outside Idaho was in Chandler, Oklahoma for Bill Matthews in 1978. I had written an article for a fertilizer magazine explaining how a Monolithic Dome would be a terrific fertilizer storage. Bill read the article and flew to Idaho to see our domes. We hadn’t built a fertilizer storage, yet. His would be the first and it opened the gates to fertilizer domes all along the Mississippi River.
New Monolithic Dome safe room in Pawnee, Oklahoma is large enough for the whole town. Local TV station, KFOR, profiled the dome during a school tornado drill. As the students quietly walk to the dome, Superintendent Ned Williams explains the advantages and why they built the safe dome.
AL.com recently posted a beautiful gallery and profile on one of the early Monolithic Dome homes and it’s owner, Chuck Peters. There are 33 beautiful shots of the house, but remember to click “Fullscreen” button below the picture.
To construct a conventional building strong enough to withstand mother nature you normally build it like a bunker. It serves only one function and remains empty most of the time. With the new community center in Mercedes, Texas, they get twice the building for the price. Most of the year it’s a gym, learning center, and meeting space. During a Texas-sized storm, it’s a place of refuge for the town.
Twenty minutes and a new dome takes shape. This time it’s a gymnasium for Wasuma Elementary School in Ahwahnee, California. There are other Monolithic Dome structures in California, but this is the first built for a school in the state.
If you’re looking for a modern, sophisticated house design, All Over Albany spotlights a beautiful shell house, built using Monolithic’s unique construction method.
Theresa and Richard Wisner shared their experiences with Oregon Coast Today about constructing a dome home. Tori Tobias interviews the Wisners and follows their ups and downs from “What have we done?” to “Walking into that house more than any other house I’ve ever lived in is comforting.”
Bear markets are changing housing from McMansions to “disaster chic” according to Alan Hall. In his article for Elliottwave International, Hall writes that the bear markets of the last eight years have affected housing design. “In other words, eight years ago, as social mood was rolling over to the downside, McMansions were on the way out.”
Tupelo Public Schools and the City of Tupelo, Mississippi plan to construct three Monolithic Dome multipurpose buildings and safe rooms. As WTVA reports, the district wants the buildings for more than just a safe place during a storm but also as a new gym, classrooms, and more.
Curling is called chess on ice. It’s easy to see why. It requires a unique combination of strategy, teamwork, and skill. People love it. Its popularity has exploded — especially after it became an Olympic sport. With more players than ever, more curling rinks are needed. One person told me there are 35 proposed rinks for the Chicago area alone. We’ve been receiving more calls and decided to look at how a dedicated curling facility would work in the Monolithic Dome.
Construction progresses for the new Mathena Event Center at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center. This Monolithic Dome is especially interesting because of the non-standard shape of the dome itself. Notice how it’s roughly oval around the perimeter wall.
FEMA approved a grant for the Monolithic Dome safe shelter at Dodge City Community College. The dome will be their new student activities center and also the campus tornado safe room. Plans include a full basketball / volleyball court, locker rooms, classrooms, fitness center, student lounge, and more.
We are a mystery. Thousands drive by our headquarters in Italy, Texas, and stare at the cowboy-boot-painted caterpillar. From the day our first dome inflated — 25 years ago — curious people stopped to see what we were about. Yet, many of our neighbors know little about our work. That’s why it’s nice to get some coverage by the local county newspaper.
The Heywood family cabin started over a year ago and is almost complete. It is in the deep snow of northern Arizona so they have to wait until spring to complete it. The dome is 58-feet diameter with three levels surrounding a central gathering room.
It may not be a Monolithic Dome, but it sure is cool. A skate-park in Denmark with concrete obstacles, a grass covered wood dome, climbing wall, and much more. It’s an amazing use of concrete, landscape design, and urban improvement. Just look at the grain silos they painted.
We regularly receive emails asking about using hempcrete in the Monolithic Dome or EcoShell. Hempcrete uses natural hemp fibers embedded in a lime binder — usually cement. It can provide some insulation and a little strength, but if used in a Monolithic Dome it actually weakens the dome and reduces its energy efficiency.
Over one hundred people from every corner of the country flocked to the Monolithic Dome Institute last month for the opportunity to tour Bruco, the Texas Italian Caterpillar, along with several houses and offices located on the 24-acre property.
We love to hear from dome builders around the world! It can be hard to build a new business, but the dome building business is definitely worth the time and effort. Recently, we heard from a relatively new dome building company in western Canada—Cascade Domes. Read advice from owner, Steve White.
When George Clarke of “George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces” and master craftsman, Will Hardie, took the UK-based reality show on a road trip across Texas in search of some interesting, unique, unusual spaces, they found a truly “Amazing Space”—Al Schwartz’s Robot Ranch.
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.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia loaded 5.5 tons of sand bags on the top of a 24-foot diameter dome and subjected it to simulated earthquake conditions on their shake tables. Watch the video of the shake-table test and find out if the wood-framed dome survived.
Recently, WFAA Channel 8 featured Monolithic’s president, David South, and his monolithic dome rental units on Good Morning Texas. Reporter, Paige McCoy Smith, traveled to Monolithic’s headquarters in Italy, Texas to interview Mr. South and see first-hand, “How these domestic domes can become dream dwellings for people around the world.”
From the very first thoughts of geodesic domes to the invention of the Monolithic Dome and finally the Crenosphere, read the personal story of the history of the Monolithic Dome as told by David B. South in his latest President’s Sphere.