Airform inflated

The recently inflated Airform of the Shalom Dome. (John Small)


Shalom Dome gets underway

20 years of dreaming has finally taken shape for one family.

For John and Letha Small, a Monolithic Dome home has been years in the making. The journey to building their home evolved from 20 years of dreaming. Living in “Tornado Alley” in Missouri, “we’ve always considered safety when it came to our Kansas City house,” John stated. Their current residence has a safe room under the garage that is surrounded by six-inch concrete walls.

While being aware of safety needs, they were not aware of Monolithic Domes. Letha was introduced to the structures while watching a TV show featuring The Eye of the Storm dome home in South Carolina. The program explained the hurricane survivability of Monolithic Domes and “from then on we were dome folks,” John said.

What attracted them to the Monolithic Dome? “We naturally saw how the strength of the dome would provide a lot of peace of mind with Midwest tornadoes,” John said. Stories of domes surviving different disasters also helped reinforce the benefits of the structure. Letha began researching on the internet and came across the Monolithic site.

The Monolithic website became what John called “the focus of our research.” They ordered the Dome Living book, which details living in a dome home and how to go about building one. They enjoyed the book and they “poured over the all the details and checked out the many of the floor plans.” After looking at different plans they selected the Orion style because of its wall space. Then they contacted Monolithic directly and completed the Word Picture and Residential Feasibility study.

Next came finding the land where they could build a home. After some time looking, they found 40 acres of property next to the town where their grandchildren attend school. John called it “the geographic center of our activity.” Once the land was secured, development moved at a more deliberate pace. The real estate firm they purchased the property through is run by a family friend. A member of that family is a developer who agreed to be the coordinating contractor on the project.

During the spring of 2015, John and Letha took their two granddaughters and visited Monolithic headquarters. They were able to meet David B. South and tour his home. “Since Monolithic has the greatest expertise in dome building we decided to have them draw up our plans,” John said.

They worked with the designer Linda Ware and the plans for their home were drawn up. With the plans completed, the construction could begin. The contractor began in 2016 and worked closely with Monolithic to make sure the footings and slabs would be right for the project. After the slabs were completed, construction took a pause for the winter. In March 2017 the Airform was inflated and shotcrete was applied. The home is targeted to be completed by June 2017.

The home is comprised of three inter-connected domes, with stem walls in the style of Orion. One dome is the garage; another is the main dome housing the living area, loft, master suite and bathroom, laundry room, and guest bathroom. The third dome has two bedrooms, bathroom, and what John calls a “movie/game room.” An office is also located in the connecter to the third dome. In all, the home has a total living space of 3,000 square feet.

Why name is the ‘Shalom Dome?’ John stated they name it that “because ‘Shalom’ is the Hebrew word for peace and unity. We hope that our home will represent that quality among family, friends and the community!” Peace seems like a fitting end to a 20 year journey.

You can keep up with the progress of the home on its Facebook page.

Domes aerial view

An aerial view of the domes. (Javier Figueroa)

Airform inside

Inside the home during construction, where the inflated Airform’s traverse pattern can be seen. After the Airform is inflated, polyurethane foam is sprayed, the steel rebar is attached, and shotcrete is sprayed as the last layer. (Javier Figueroa)

Workers

Inside the home after the shotcrete had been sprayed. (Javier Figueroa)

Workers inside

Workers inside the dome home. (Javier Figueroa)