Could a home be tornado proof?

In an online article featured on the KFVS12 website, Michael Cobb is a physics professor at Southeast Missouri State University states that a Monolithic Dome might be the answer to surviving severe tornadoes. Cobb said FEMA has certified the dome structure as nearly indestructible. He said it can withstand winds up to 350 miles an hour, and hold off 2×4 boards traveling at 100 miles per hour.

Protect Your Potatoes

This illustration, taken from Protect Your Potatoes, depicts the first Monolithic Dome potato storage we built. It can hold five million pounds of potatoes. To control temperature and humidity we spray our domes with urethane and provide air-circulating systems.

While they’re not wheeled down a Dublin street by Molly Malone singing “Alive! Alive Oh!” staying alive is as important for potatoes as it was for the cockles and mussels Molly did wheel. In fact, keeping those spuds alive while they sleep in storage is the one vital goal of a potato-storage facility. That’s because a potato is a living organism, that can stay asleep and alive for a long time if it’s properly stored. But if it’s not, it will die and rot very quickly.

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.

Letter from: Jeff and Sarah Kamin

I just wanted to write you a note of thanks for the Dome Builder Institute Workshop that I attended April 9-13, 2113. What a great week! You and your delightful staff really made us feel welcome and a part of the Monolithic family.

Going Up: Three Monolithic Fertilizer Storages in Estonia

Monolithic’s Airform being inflated.

Monolithic Constructors Poland (MCP) has started construction on three large fertilizer storage domes in Estonia, a former Soviet state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe that, unlike many countries in that area, has a high-income economy. Jan Pregowski, chief executive of MCP, signed the contract for these Monolithic Domes last year, but due to a severe winter, MCP had to wait until now to inflate and start construction.

Cost to cool your building

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? Also, consider that this is a school for less than 300 students.

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?

“Green” Blogger touts the benefits of the Monolithic Dome

In the Huffington post article titled, “Buildings, Energy, & Transportation Choices in Tourism: A Key to protecting coastal habitat and marine environments,” Dr. Reese Halter (broadcaster, biologist and author) touts the benefits of the Monolithic Dome in coastal regions. In the blog Dr. Halter expands on the “Blue Community Initiative,” 12 strategies for coastal habitat and marine environment protection for the tourism industry and the Monolithic Dome is a key component.

Fire destroys contents but Monolithic Dome only needs washing

On March 25 a fire erupted at “Kinsey Quilts,” the quilting business operated by Donna and David Kinsey in a 20-foot Monolithic Dome in Weatherford, Texas.

In 1999, David and Donna Kinsey purchased a Monoquad for equipment storage on their acre in Weatherford, Texas. They then completed two 20-foot domes: a laundry facility and an office. They also began planning four interconnected 20-foot domes and a 28-foot Orion. In 2011, Donna launched her new quilting business “Kinsey Quilts” in a 20-foot Monolithic Dome. Fire broke out in that dome on March 25, 2013.

Monolithic’s Pond Liners: A Quality Product

How do you keep water in a pond, canal or reservoir from seeping away? Or, how do you keep contaminants such as oil, industrial chemicals, even arsenic from seeping into the water? “Pond liners are the answer – provided they are made of quality material and manufactured and installed properly,” says David South, president of Monolithic. David points out that Monolithic Airforms, one of the company’s divisions, manufactures pond liners using reinforced PVC (polyvinyl chloride) geomembranes*, in virtually any size and thickness needed.

Highland Growers: New Fertilizer Blend Plant

Since October 2011, Highland Growers of DeRidder, Louisiana has been running its business in a Monolithic Dome fertilizer blend plant. The dome has a diameter of 76 feet, a height of 36 feet and six bins.

When I asked Don Smith, manager of Highland Growers in DeRidder, Louisiana, how they like the dome they’ve been using since October 2011, he said, “We like it – very much.” In particular, he added, “We like it because it’s climate controlled. It doesn’t get the moisture in there that our old, wood plant did. At the old plant, we used to have probably 15 to 20 ton of ruined fertilizer in a year. That’s a lot of money. We don’t have waste in the dome. It stays dry and cool.”

Locust Grove, Oklahoma: Sold on Monolithic Domes

Locust Grove, Oklahoma is a small community with just 1,200 residents. But in 2007, they passed a bond to add Monolithic Domes to their campus.

Locust Grove, Oklahoma may not be big and it may not be famous and it may not be wealthy, but it is wise. In 2007, this community of just 1200 residents passed a bond to build an arena for its high school. On the advice of School Superintendent David Cash, they went Monolithic.

Rosa Banksiae grows over dome garage at Charca Casa

Monolithic’s founding guru, David South, wanted to share with the Monolithic Dome community his blooming Rosa Banksiae flowers, often referred to as Lady Bank’s Rosa, that have completely covered his dome-shaped, two-car garage.

David South at Wicked Weather Weekend

Terrible Tuesday happened on April 10, 1979 when a monster EF4 tornado hit Wichita Falls, Texas. This most-damaging tornado in American history killed 45 people and injured hundreds more. Wicked Weather Weekend commemorates Terrible Tuesday and presents plans for coping with and successfully surviving future natural disasters.

How much does a Monolithic Dome home cost?

Monolithic Dome homes come in all shapes and sizes, so giving exact costs are something that is done project-by-project. That said, we do have a standard, square-foot price that we use for budgetary purposes. This price can go up or down based on any number of factors.

Rentals and Ecoshells: a good first step for your dome building business

Shown here is an Ecoshell with a 20’ diameter. It’s one of the first ones we built as a commercial building. Notice that it is spherical in shape. Made as an Ecoshell I, it was built during a Monolithic Workshop, here at our plant in Italy, Texas. It is about 20 years old and has worked very well for us. The structure was painted with a white exterior coating.

People go through one of our Workshops to learn about and actually experience the construction of a Monolithic Dome. Some actually want to start a dome-building business of their own. But what should they start with? What’s their first product – a Monolithic Dome home? That sounds far too complicated for most beginners.

Why a Monolithic Dome Fertilizer Blend Plant?

Our design of a rotating incoming conveyer is unique. The incoming conveyor brings material from the elevator outside and drops it into the center. Then it can be rotated to drop the product into the bin of choice. The dome can support any loads you can hang off it.  All of the material handling equipment is supported off the dome.  Catwalks provide access to each moving part, so maintenance is simple.

What’s a fertilizer blend plant’s number-one enemy? Moisture! If water gets into or condensation forms inside a storage unit, it quite quickly begins degrading the fertilizer and forming rust. But Monolithic uses a technology that keeps that troublesome process to a minimum.

A Mural for a Monolithic Dome

The 100’ wide by 30’ high expanses on either side of the gym floor provided both an opportunity and a challenge for the artist.

During the past 30 years, Pat Rawlings of Dripping Springs, Texas (www.patrawlings.com) has done much of his artwork for NASA and aerospace clients around the world. But one of his more recent murals was done for Woodsboro ISD’s new, 20,000-square-foot, Monolithic Dome gym/auditorium/activity center that doubles as the community disaster shelter.

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.

Students of Sustainable Architecture comment on Monolithic Domes

Monolithic’s president, David B. South, recently received an email from Dr. David W. Randle, Managing Director of the International Ocean Institute Waves of Change campaign. According to its website, the Waves of Change mission is “To empower and mobilize a broad range of stakeholders to protect the oceans and promote ocean sustainability." In his email, Dr. Randle wrote, “Thought you would enjoy these comments from a few students in my class this Semester. I think I told you that we are teaching the Monolithic Dome as a best practice in sustainable building construction. Thanks for the good work you and your Monolithic team do.”

Fire: An unfortunate but convincing experience

Another “square home” destroyed by fire.

“You can bet the (next) house will be a dome. I only get burned once…. Pun intended.” So said Frank Figueroa, who works with Monolithic Constructors, Inc., and whose small, brick home in Italy, Texas burned on the afternoon of January 15.

An Attractive, New Augment

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.

The Shocking Truth about Lightning and Monolithic Domes

The ancient Greeks believed that lightning was the wrath of Zeus. The Vikings thought it was produced by Thor riding through the clouds. Some Native American tribes credited lightning to a mystical bird with flashing feathers. Of course we know better. Science has defined lightning for us. More importantly, it’s estimated that lightning strikes the earth’s surface about 100 times every second. So what will lightning do to a Monolithic Dome?

Spur, Texas: Highlighting Its Domes

Students, school personnel and the community are pleased with their three new domes, designed by Leland A. Gray Architects of Salt Lake City.

Just another small, rural Texas town? Not really! Spur may be small and in a rural area that’s about 60 miles east of Lubbock, but its 1,088 residents take pride in its history and accomplishments.

Monolithic Dome Frac Sand Storage now at State-of-the-Science Facility

On its 1,000 acre operation in Voca, Texas, Cadre has three Monolithic Domes for storing frac-sand. For retrieving the sand, each dome has a Monolithic concrete tunnel 23’ wide, 13’ high and about 130’ long.

Voca, Texas is one of those towns that you might have missed if you blinked while driving through on State Highway 71. The 2010 census counted just 126 residents in Voca. But while it’s small, it’s not so easily missed these days. Voca now has three, new, very visible Monolithic Domes that Cadre, the largest single-line proppant plant in Texas, will use for storing frac-sand.

Leoti, Kansas: Monolithic Domes with a Vintage Look

At Leoti, Kansas, the new domes designed by Architect Lee Gray had to blend attractively with structures built in 1928 and 1954.

How do you get spanking new Monolithic Domes to look like they belong next to traditional structures built in 1928 and added to in 1954? That was one of the challenges that Architect Lee A. Gray of Salt Lake City, Utah faced in designing three Monolithic Domes for schools in Leoti, Kansas.

Beautiful Monolithic Dome Home in the Netherlands

This beautiful Monolithic Dome home was designed and constructed in the Netherlands.

In April 1999, Hans van der Sman traveled from Denmark to Italy, Texas just to take Monolithic’s five-day, hands-on Workshop. During his stay, he told us that he had “a long-standing interest in Monolithic Domes.” It stemmed from his attempts to get the approval of the Danish government to build domes in Denmark.

Monolithic Dome Cafeteria at Dale, Oklahoma

The walkway to the dome has a canopy over it, and the front door is FEMA approved for wind resistance.

Dale, Oklahoma is a very small community 30 miles east of Oklahoma City. It doesn’t include many people nor much land area. But thanks to Frank Dale, the legendary territorial chief justice that it’s named after, since about 1893 Dale has had somewhat of an eyebrow-raising history. But now Dale has yet another, surprising feature: their Monolithic Dome school cafeteria.

EXPO Display Leads to Better Understanding of Monolithic Domes

Maddy and Chris Ecker, the owners of Serenity Dome, Galax, Virginia recently set up a Monolithic Dome information display at the 3rd annual Save Green Expo at the Crossroads Institute in Galax.

Maddy and Chris Ecker, the owners of Serenity Dome, Galax, Virginia recently set up a Monolithic Dome information display at the 3rd annual Save Green Expo at the Crossroads Institute in Galax. This year’s EXPO theme was “Personal and Planetary Wellness,” and the event hosted some 35 exhibits and vendors.

Liquefaction and Earthquakes

Semi-liquid soil will handle 200 pounds per square foot. The inverted, shallow dome-bowl and the sidewalks, attached around the perimeter, literally bring the soil-bearing need down to about 200 pounds per square foot. That’s a significant decrease of the average soil-bearing load of a house, which is 3,000 pounds per square foot.

We have a customer who wants to build a retirement home on one of the San Juan Islands in northwest Washington state. His land is subject to liquefaction during an earthquake. He asked us to help him design a building that would survive both earthquakes and liquefaction.

Monolithic’s 2012 International Dome Tour Recap

On October 19 and 20, Monolithic held its annual, international dome tour. The owners of 20 dome-homes and the managers of eight commercial domes generously gave of their time and energy to participate in the tour. Thank you very much!

Dome enhanced with Monolithic Stucco

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.

Video: Using Basalt Rope in Building a Monolithic EcoShell

David South, president of Monolithic Constructors, Inc., narrates this easy-to-understand, enjoyable, and informative video. In it, David describes the qualities of basalt rope and demonstrates the step-by-step process of using it when building a Monolithic EcoShell.

Plans Approved for Monolithic Dome Fashioned after Rome’s Pantheon

St. Mary and St. Mercurius Coptic Christian Church in Belleville, New Jersey will be adding a Monolithic Dome fashioned after Rome’s Pantheon, as their new Coptic Youth Center. According to its architect, Ralph Nashed, this dome will be a historical milestone for New Jersey, a victory for Belleville Township, a parking solution for the neighborhood and a blessing for the church.

The Belleville Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously approved the new Coptic Youth Center for St. Mary and St. Mercurius Coptic Orthodox Church proposed by Egyptian Architect Ralph Nashed, the founder and president of NASH, a design/build company in New Jersey. The new Coptic Youth Center incorporates a Monolithic Dome, fashioned after the Pantheon of Rome. That will make it the first such building in the state.

An American Irony: One Man’s Struggle for Monolithic Dome Rentals

David South said, “This map shows the proximity of the cities involved. They are right on the coast, directly in hurricane alley. If any place in the world needs Monolithic Domes, it’s hurricane alley. The domes will protect lives, and the fact that they can be built for no more than conventional, and generally less, is a miracle. Frank is trying to make this a better world in the 21st Century.”

For several years now, Frank Smith has been unsuccessfully struggling with politicians, city councils and business people, trying to get their approval to build drastically needed Monolithic Dome rentals in their communities. Those Texas communities include Corpus Christi, Ingleside and Aransas Pass. All are in a hurricane-prone area – the same hurricane-prone area that made Woodsboro ISD eligible for a FEMA grant.

Woodsboro, Texas ISD: Going Even Greener!

In October 2011, Woodsboro dedicated their 20,000-square-foot gym.

“We were fortunate,” Steven Self, School Superintendent at Woodsboro, Texas said. “At the same time that we were doing the dome, we learned through Meridian Solar that we could apply for a solar grant with the State of Texas Comptroller.”

Insurance for Monolithic Domes

I am writing this piece to give Monolithic Dome owners some hints on getting insurance for their homes as well as commercial buildings.

The South Sawmill Lodge: A Monolithic Family Project

Please note the exterior: What looks like rough sawn wood is acutally concrete.  In the winter, transportation is arranged by a large snowcat pulling a schoolbus on skies.  The facility can easily handle 200 or 300 people.

Randy South, Director of South Industries, and his family have decided to build a special, family reunion dome and name it South Sawmill Lodge. It’s located just a half-mile south of the sawmill site that Randy’s dad and granddad owned.

Michael McCoy Architects, Inc.

Michael McCoy of Michael McCoy Architects hopes to design more Monolithic Dome projects in the future.

After more than twenty years of experience and with the completion of 100+ projects under his professional belt, Oklahoma-based Architect Michael McCoy encountered the Monolithic Dome. Was he surprised? Yes and No. Was he pleased? Yes.

“How Stuff Works” Spotlights Monolithic Domes

Since its debut on the Discovery Channel, “How Stuff Works” has become the go-to website for anyone interested in understanding the why’s behind not only science and machines, but just about every topic imaginable. At last count, the website HowStuffWorks.com was attracting more than 58 million visitors annually.

Mountain wall stabilized quickly and efficiently with shotcrete

In 2011, South Industries of Menan, Idaho was hired to stabilize a mountain wall.

South Industries of Menan, Idaho is primarily known for its superior work in constructing Monolithic Domes. But in 2011, South Industries (SI) was hired to do a different kind of project. Signal Peak Energy, co-owned by FirstEnergy Corp. and Boich Companies, asked SI to stabilize a mountain wall.