Risky Business: Hiring an Architect

While clients often see architects as a necessary evil, I don’t. The reality is that architects are necessary. But as in any profession, there are the good, the bad and the ugly, or architects who are talented, honest and reliable and their opposites.

Bruco – A Very Busy Caterpillar

Makeover — In Summer 2001, Bruco got a makeover and now has a multi-colored coat to complement his flirty eyes, smiley mouth and glow-in-the-dark cowboy boots.

With its flirty eyes, smiley mouth and cowboy boots that glow in the dark, Bruco, our manufacturing plant in Italy, Texas, looks nothing like a typical factory. But while Bruco might look like a playful, giant caterpillar on the outside, it’s serious work on the inside.

What is Green?

What does it mean to be “Green”? The original term was very simple, “the use of rapidly renewable resources.” If you read a magazine or watch a television commercial you would be lead to believe that everything made is “green,” but the truth be known that the true criteria is now very vague.

Technical Journal — Think Round

You Try It! — The strength of the Monolithic Dome is demonstrated by placing an egg horizontally in the palm of your hands and applying as much pressure as you possibly can. It is extremely diffcult to break.

Nobody knew the truck was coming. Massive tons of steel slammed into the house, threatening to destroy it and everyone inside. But the house stopped the truck. The only damage was a small six-inch hole in a bedroom wall. Someone said, “This truck should have destroyed the entire home.” A normal home perhaps. A home built of wood and plaster would have collapsed like a cardboard box. But this was a Monolithic Dome.

The Day Bruco Lost an Egg

One day, Bruco, our Italian Caterpillar — that really is the Monolithic Dome factory where we manufacture Airforms — lost an egg. Actually, losing this egg wasn’t so much Bruco’s fault as ours.

Concrete and Steel: Complementary Opposites

Like the opposing ends of a teeter-totter, concrete and steel – two main ingredients of a Monolithic Dome – complement and contradict each other, all at the same time. In a Monolithic Dome, concrete and steel complement each other by working together to give the dome its strength, durability and longevity.

School Business Affairs Magazine Features Monolithic Domes

School Business Affairs-June 2009

School Business Affairs, the only education magazine published specifically for school business management professionals, dedicated its June 2009 issue to the topic of risk management. It is fitting that one of the feature articles focuses on keeping students safe in Monolithic Dome schools.

The History of Thin-Shells and Monolithic Domes

Figure 3 — Hershey Arena Under Construction

In the history of thin-shell structures, four of the major influences are: Anton Tedesko (1903-1994), who is attributed with much of the success of thin-shell structures in the U.S; Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979), who in Italy gave structural integrity to the complex curves and geometry of reinforced-concrete structures such as the Orbetello aircraft hangar (begun 1938) and Turin’s exposition hall (1948-50); and the Spaniard Eduardo Torroja (1891-1961) and his pupil Felix Candela (1910-1997) who followed his lead. Essentially, each of the latter three attempted to create an umbrella roof the interior space of which could be subdivided as required, such as Torroja’s grandstand for the Zarzuela racetrack in Madrid (1935) (Archpedia.com, 9/7/05).

Metal Cladding For Domes: The Why And The How

Bruco — Metal cladding comes in a variety of colors and makes a durable, protective coating for a Monolithic Dome.

Why would someone want to cover a Monolithic Dome with metal cladding? David South, Monolithic’s president, says, “Metal cladding is an arrow in the quiver – a problem solver – that’s especially useful when things get really nasty.”

Radius of Curvature

Figure 1 — Comparison of Radii of Curvature showing small radius with high curvature vs large radius with low curvature.

The Radius of Curvature is a number that is used to determine the “flatness” of a dome. In essence, the radius of curvature tells us how curved a curve is. The larger the dome, the less curve, the flatter the concrete.

Will Lightning Affect a Dome?

According to the experts, when lightning strikes a Monolithic Dome the electricty will travel to the rebar and dissipate into the footing. Lightning rods are used in conventional homes to prevent the lightning from traveling through the highly resistive wood of the home and starting a fire. They are unnecessary in a Monolithic Dome. The structure is already grounded.

The Monolithic Dome: Not a Square Idea

Rising from the Texas horizon in a futuristic fashion are unusual looking white domes. Many a motorist has stopped on I-35E near Italy, Texas, for a closer look. What are these one-piece buildings that look much like a puffed marshmallow or an Arctic igloo? They are Monolithic Domes.

Vapor Drive

Water vapor molecules (or water in its gas form) try to evenly spread themselves. If one side of a room is full of water vapor molecules, the molecules will move to the other side until the room is evenly populated. In a room, this phenomenon is easily understood. It’s a little more complicated in the real world.

Earthquake Safety – It’s Yours In A Monolithic Dome!

In simple terms, a Monolithic Dome will keep you and your loved ones safe during an earthquake. The dome has no moment connections – those points at which a wall meets a roof or a floor attaches to a wall. An earthquake can and often does disconnect those moment connections. They just come apart. But a Monolithic Dome is more like an upside-down bowl, with zero connections to fatigue or disconnect. In general, an earthquake will put no more pressure on a dome than a good snow load.

Domes For The World Featured in Concrete International

When an earthquake struck Indonesia’s Island of Java in May 2006, some communities were harder hit than others. Ngelepen, for example, was devastated by a major landslide that wiped away every structure in town. But thanks to generous assistance from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) and Dubai-based Emaar Properties, the Domes For The World (DFTW) Foundation was able to rebuild the community by constructing safe and efficient Monolithic EcoShells.

Monolithic Dome Salt Storages

Salt Storage near Texoma, OK — Most salt storage structures are filled by pushing the salt into the building with a front-end loader. But if the buyer plans on pouring the salt into the dome through a top opening, Monolithic will construct the salt storage with an opening at the top. For the Airform, that will be the dome’s outer membrane, Monolithic suggests choosing a white or sandstone color. But other colors are also available.

Monolithic Domes make the best salt storages. They are solid concrete on the inside. Concrete handles salt damage far better than just about any other building material.

Installing Augment Frames

Attach Stakes — 4. Attach the stakes on the exterior through the Airform and into the window buck. Get the bucks plumb and level.

In a Monolithic Dome, an augment is an extension of the Airform. That extension creates a vertical surface, beyond the curve of the dome, where a door or window can be installed. A smooth augment is achieved by properly planning the Airform.

Monolithic Indoor Athletic Practice Facility/Field House

Faith Chapel — Two hundred and eighty foot in diameter dome, seventy four feet tall in Birmingham, Alabama. This is for a church that is listed on our site. It is the same size building as the small practice facility discussed in this article.  Check it out here.

Athletes need to practice when it is neither too hot or too cold. But few players get to practice football, baseball, softball, track, rugby, etc. year around. A Monolithic Dome facility makes year-round practice possible. It largely eliminates the weather factor.

Ohio TV Station Chronicles Dome Inflation

Have you ever seen the inflation of a Monolithic Dome? An Ohio television station used time-lapse video to chronicle the 15-minute inflation in only a few seconds.

Monolithic Dome: An Ideal, Automated Warehouse

Cut-away — Monolithic Dome cut-away showing the storage of pallets utilizing an automated storage and retrieval system furnished by PAS. www.pas-us.com

“The higher you go, the more susceptible a building is to hurricane or tornado damage,” said David South, president of Monolithic, at a discussion of the latest in warehouses, distribution centers and storage facilities. “That’s why the Monolithic Dome makes an ideal automated warehouse,” he added.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation to Build Monolithic Dome

Rendering of proposed multipurpose facility — Michael McCoy, the Oklahoma-based architect on the project, said the Monolithic Dome’s energy efficiency and strength both were key factors in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s decision to go with dome construction.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is making plans to build a 160-foot diameter Monolithic Dome multipurpose facility adjacent to their existing sports complex in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. The $4 million facility, which will encompass more than 20,000 square feet, will include spectator seating, classrooms, concessions and several multi-use areas. Construction is set to begin in late summer and will be completed in 2010.

More About the Monolithic Dome Storages

Lone Star Northwest, Inc. — This cement storage located Portland, Oregon is 141′ × 74.5′.

Your dollar buys more when you invest in a Monolithic Dome bulk storage facility. Not only can you get exactly what you need for less, but you can get it designed and built by experienced, reliable and reputable professionals.

Construction Management

Generally, construction management has three objectives: to allow the customer to control the project and its cost; to provide the customer with knowledgeable advice; to do the day-to-day coordination for the customer using professional administrative techniques. Monolithic Construction Management adheres to those objectives and adds a few more.

From Toothpicks to Trailblazing— The Birth of The Monolithic Dome

David South built his first dome out of toothpicks. But then, he was just a rural Idaho high school kid, burning with youthful enthusiasm, sparked by a Buckminster Fuller speech. David didn’t foresee just building domes; he envisioned building huge domes. “I knew there had to be a way to construct really big domes,” David says. “I saw them as super-size, igloolike structures for commercial use.”

Georgia Church Begins Construction on Monolithic Dome

Fellowship Baptist Church

The economy may be uncertain, but Rev. Willie Reid has no doubt that this is the right time to build a Monolithic Dome for his Fellowship Bible Baptist Church. The church, located in Warner Robins, Georgia, has experienced rapid growth and recently reached 2,000 members. But the relocation of local businesses such as Brown & Williamson combined with the transience of the area’s military population has led to fluctuations in the church’s membership base. Unswayed, Rev. Reid is moving forward anyway on construction of the $7 million building.

Podcast: Ahead of the Curve

Monolithic Podcast

The Monolithic Dome is built to last 500+ years. It has a lifetime measured in centuries. Its only maintenance requirement is the singly-ply membrane on the exterior of the dome, and it can be coated with several more permanent options.

Monolithic Domes For Cold Storage

CALAMCO — These two domes, which are each 230 feet in diameter and 115 feet high, were built for the California Ammonia Co. (CALAMCO). Each dome is big enough to hold 600 semi-truck loads of apples.

Adaptability and affordability are key words when you’re talking about Monolithic Domes built as cold storage facilities. “It’s a matter of you tell us what you want and need, and we will help you design and build it,” said Monolithic’s President David B. South. “We can do a cold storage dome of just about any size — small ones with diameters of 75 feet or less, giant ones with diameters of 200+ feet, or anything in between.”

Our Business Friends

We have a lot of business friends. These are people who, over the years, have influenced our lives and have become our friends. Many have their own businesses, located in various parts of the world and including an entire spectrum of interests.

Electric Tankless Water Heaters in a Monolithic Dome

Eemax Model EX95T — This is an installed EX95T under a kitchen sink.

Decades ago, tankless water heaters were pioneered in Europe and Asia where they are commonly used as on-demand hot water systems. Now tankless water heaters, equipped with computer chips, sensors and high-power heating elements, are available here as well and can be installed in a Monolithic Dome.

Do-It-Yourself Monolithic Cabin

Building the actual shell of the Monolithic Cabin takes a lot of specialized equipment, trained manpower and a specialized form called a casting bed. Therefore, we suggest that you consider having Monolithic build the shell and you finishing the Cabin.

A Monolithic Anchor Point Provides Safety

Anchor Points

Tasks such as cleaning, repairing, painting or covering the outside of a Monolithic Dome often means workers must climb to the dome’s top and move along its curved roof. For working atop any Monolithic Dome, a correctly installed, permanently set Monolithic Anchor Point is the simplest and most secure.

A Practical, Life-Sustaining Water Filter

Simple but effective — The Texas Baptist Men’s Water Ministry travels to impoverished, war-torn or disaster areas and teaches people how to assemble and use these simple but effective water filters.

To provide clean, drinkable water to people trapped in disaster- or war-torn areas, the Texas Baptist Men initiated the development of a practical, inexpensive, but very effective, ceramic water filter. They call it the “Just Water Ceramic Drip-Filter.”

Rural Builder Magazine Features Domes

The May issue of Rural Builder includes a cover story on dome building. The lengthy feature article was written by Oliver Witte, who is a journalism professor at Southern Illinois University.

Licking County FEMA Grant for Monolithic Dome Disaster Shelters

Almost two years ago David B. South, president of Monolithic, received a letter from Jim Mickey, Environmental Planner with the Licking County Planning Department in Ohio. It stated that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is approving a grant for the construction of Monolithic Dome disaster shelters. This month, Monolithic Constructors, Inc., using the services of Marty Heaton, began work on the first two units.

FEMA Funds Dome Tornado Shelters in Two Ohio Mobile Home Parks

Tornado Shelter/Community Center at Wilkins Park in Licking County, Ohio.  Safe for 125 occupants.  Funded ¼ by Mobile Home Park and ¾ by FEMA.  First of its kind.  Built 2010.

Residents of mobile home parks are among the most vulnerable to tornadoes. According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, about half of tornado fatalities occur in mobile homes even though only 7 percent of the population lives in these types of manufactured homes.

Monolithic Domes: Architecture of the Future

Monolithic Domes have been built all over the world, so it’s no wonder that they have also been the focus of international media attention. Geo, a family of educational monthly magazines first published in Germany in 1976, is spotlighting Monolithic Domes this month in a photo gallery titled “Architecture of the Future.”

Podcast: Headquarters Tour

Monolithic Podcast

The purpose of Monolithic’s campus is to provide a setting where more experiments can be done using different products, coatings, building methods and more. As you tour the property you will see a variety of domes, exterior coatings and unique products used in dome construction.

Insurance Rates: Shop Until They Drop

Monolithic Dome home in Shamrock, TX — In 2000, Shirley and Don Tuttle moved into their just-completed, four-dome home and began shopping for homeowners insurance that would take into account the durability and survivability of their Monolithic Domes. Their efforts netted a savings of more than $600.

Can the annual premium for homeowners insurance on the same Monolithic Dome structure for the same coverage drop? “Sure can, and did,” says Don Tuttle, who, with wife Shirley, built a Monolithic Dome home in Shamrock, Texas.

Fresh Air and ERVs

Energy Recovery Unit — This RecoupAerator ERV was installed in a window at Charca Casa, the Monolithic Dome home of Judy and David South, and monitored closely.  It proved very efficient. The Souths’ home is now always under 1200 ppm — even with lots of company.

How do you bring fresh, breathable air inside your home, school or church without losing your Monolithic Dome’s energy efficiency? Here’s what I have learned.

Surviving Hurricanes and Tornadoes

Dome of a Home — This fabulous Monolithic Dome home on Pensacola Beach, Florida has successfully survived more than one hurricane. In 2004, the owners and an NBC News crew had permission to stay in this dome during Hurricane Dennis.

Deaths, injuries and property damage caused by tornadoes and hurricanes can be prevented. That’s the primary and most important conclusion FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) reaches in its manual, Design and Construction Guidance for Community Shelters. But this manual doesn’t stop there. It not only says that structures strong enough to survive tornadoes and hurricanes can be built, it actually tells people how to do that.

Major Survivability Concerns in Arkansas: An Ongoing Story

Terry Gray, State Hazard Mitigation Officer and Mitigation Branch Chief for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) sent an email to more than a dozen State and/or education administrators in Arkansas and to David B. South, president of Monolithic. In it, Mr. Gray explained that during the past six years his department oversaw more than $50,000,000 in grant programs that funded more than 80 community safe rooms, mostly in schools. The email ended with an invitation to an in-depth discussion of disaster survivability, that included a presentation by David B. South — the only invited guest speaker.

Free Email Newsletter

Want to be among the first to know what’s happening at Monolithic? Our free, email newsletter is the best source for that information. It links you to new and updated articles on our website that tell you about new products, techniques, projects and events – in short, anything and everything of interest to domers.