Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is known as a historic site, being the location of a notable battle during the U.S. Civil War. But this town is home to another historic site: the first residential Ecoshell concrete dome built in the state. Charlie Galusha built the home after becoming converted to the idea of a dome home.
Charlie’s interest in domes stems back to his days in college. While attending Alfred University in New York, one of his professors made a ferrocement dome that inspired Charlie. His professor challenged him to “think outside the box.” Due to this, Charlie said he was “always fascinated with the cement dome idea, realizing the geodesic were not very practical.”
His introduction to dome building started with an advertisement in a magazine, from which he requested more information. Some of that material included informational video tapes. After watching those videos he was, in his words, “hooked.”
Charlie was able to turn a misfortune in his life into a positive. He lost his job, and while deciding what course to take he realized he could build his dream dome. This led him to enroll in the dome builders workshop to further his goal.
While attending the workshop in 2003, he was instructed by Gary Clark. The design of Gary’s home, the Orion, left an impression on Charlie and inspired his future home. The Orion has stem walls and a domed roof, rather than the traditional round structure. This design appealed to Charlie, stating “I like the idea of flat surfaces to install windows and doors.” This is one of the advantages and appeals of a dome home this style. It also provides a more conventional look. “The Orion style made a lot of sense,” Charlie stated.
This home is spacious due to its high ceilings. The stem walls measure 12 feet tall; the domed roof has a diameter of 40 feet. Charlie wanted a few things in this home: open space, energy efficiency, and use of natural light. “I have found the dome to fulfill all of my requirements,” he stated.
He is currently is the middle of some improvements to the house. He is fitting the house to have solar heating, after which he will install an electric panel.
And to top off this story, Charlie built this home by himself. The only help he received, he said, was when his father activated the pump while he sprayed the dome. All this proves that you can do anything you put your mind to.