Recently, a school superintendent interested in a Monolithic Dome for his campus told me about a conversation he had with an architect, who will remain nameless. According to the superintendent, the architect had told him that Monolithic’s Airform fabric and sprayed-in foam insulation were “fragile and would sustain severe damage in a hailstorm.” I’m always concerned about such statements.
A few years ago, we were faced with re-painting Bruco, our 14,000 square foot manufacturing facility. The area to be painted was the wall and ceiling, about 21,000-square-foot. So David South, president of Monolithic, led a research team that began looking into the matter.
As you make your summer travel plans, consider experiencing life in a Monolithic Dome along the way by booking a room in a unique bed and breakfast. Thyme For Bed Inn in Lowell, Indiana was recently featured on a “Fantastical Five” list of unique inns. Hundreds of visitors have stayed in the Monolithic Dome’s four bedrooms since it opened in 1999.
There are many reasons why people opt to build Monolithic Domes: their energy efficiency, low maintenance, and ability to withstand hurricanes and tornadoes. Perhaps we should add another reason to the list: the fact that we have never used asbestos when building a dome.
Last year we brought you the story of Aaron Fown, who decided to go in search of new discoveries and then tell his story to a worldwide audience. Monolithic was one of the stops on The Trip for Life.
It’s new! Here’s a must-have, must-read ebook with down-to-earth information on just about anything and everything that has to do with designing and building your dream home.
Editor’s Note: In 2010, Maddy and Chris Ecker moved into their Monolithic Dome home in Galax, Virginia. It’s an oblate ellipse built on a two-foot stemwall, with a diameter of 50 feet and a living area of 2675 square feet. The Eckers have carefully documented their dome-home’s performance and share their findings with us.
That’s the question posed by Brad Moon, better known as Geek Dad. In a recent post for a Wired Magazine blog, Moon muses about the advantages of living in a storm-resistant home given that he resides in an area of Canada that is often hit by tornadoes and other extreme weather. It’s no wonder his interest was piqued when he read about advantages of Monolithic Dome homes.
The Toronto Star, one of Canada’s largest daily newspapers, recently turned its focus to Monolithic Dome homes by featuring Great Lakes Dome Co., founded by Collin MacLeod and Sunny Cushnie. The duo has been successfully building dome homes since attending a workshop in Italy, Texas.
Dear Mr. South,
Monolithic’s recommended procedure for splicing rebar has changed. For years and years, we just overlapped the rebar and tied the bars together. In fact, when I first started we overlapped and welded the bars together. But it turns out that unless you’re using A706 rebar – which is very expensive – welding the rebar is not allowed. So we recommend that you stay away from welding.
Permies.com is a website that hosts discussion forums on permaculture, green building and sustainable practices, among other topics. Recently, a forum participant asked a simple question: Why do people in tornado/hurricane zones still build the same destroyable houses?
Every spring, tragic stories abound of the devastating effects of tornadoes. One such example is the EF-5 tornado that ripped through Smithville, Mississippi in April 2011. In addition to destroying numerous town structures, this particular tornado passed right over the high school and flattened the gym.
A new book about a dome pioneer!
Craig Crossman is a national columnist who writes about computers and technology, and also hosts a popular radio talk show called “Computer America.” While his focus is usually on computers, he knows a good thing when he sees it and does not hesitate to write about it. That’s why he recently penned a column on Monolithic Domes that was published by the Palm Beach Daily News and other newspapers across the United States.
In the summer of 2010 I met the wife of a man I was doing business with in Europe. Several times during my visit, I had supper with her and her family. In each case, the supper was a stew.
Erling and Barbara Rosholdt were both working in the construction industry when they met and fell in love. So when it came time to build their dream retirement home in Virginia, it made sense that they would do it themselves. In a feature story in Louisa Magazine, the couple recounts how they attended a Monolithic workshop in 1998 and then proceeded to build their three Monolithic Domes, as a Y2K project.
As the company name implies, Managed Organic Recycling, Inc. is in the business of composting organic waste. What’s more, they have come up with a faster, more efficient way to process some of the thousands of tons of organic waste that our society produces every year. It’s called the Compost Cover System, and it can reduce composting time by half. Monolithic manufactures the MOR compost covers using a special breathable Teflon-lined fabric.
David B. South, the visionary founder of Monolithic Inc. and Domes for the World, is often compared to Buckminster Fuller, the other pioneer in dome building. But few have heard of architect Wallace Neff, who also was dedicated to making the world go round.
In Marlow, Oklahoma, retirees Darrell and Jerrilyn Strube own a 50-foot-diameter, two-story Monolithic Dome home, with a 3000-square-foot living area, that successfully survived a wildfire and provided shelter before it was even finished.
Why are so many school districts building Monolithic Domes? Energy efficiency is definitely near the top of the list. But the fact that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is helping fund construction of these tornado-resistant structures has fueled a mini building boom of sorts.
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Named for what? Yorkshire Terriers – the playful, frisky, cute pups Glenna Crockett raises in her Monolithic Dome home in Mesa, Arizona! “But that’s okay,” Glenna said. “It’s actually very fitting because my Yorkies helped me pay for my dome.” Built in 2007, that dome has a diameter of 42 feet, a height of 25 feet, a living area of 2067 square feet, and three levels topped by a cupola.
On Tuesday, February 28, David South and Nanette South Clark, his daughter, met with a group in Branson, Missouri, interested in a FEMA grant for a Monolithic Dome tornado shelter. Once the meetings ended, David and Nan immediately started back to Texas. That was fortunate because a tornado hit the area that night!
The Arizona Department of Transportation says that State Highway 179, leading into Sedona, “carries millions of tourists each year through one of the most pristine and unique areas of the world.” And Xanadu, the home of Nina Joy and Bracken Cherry and their three daughters, is one point of interest those tourists are bound to see.
School districts in tornado- and hurricane-prone areas of the United States have discovered the benefits of building Monolithic Domes to combat the fury of Mother Nature. Not only are the dome school structures energy efficient, they also can double as community disaster shelters.
Because of a request by a lady who wanted permanent flower beds that people confined in wheelchairs could garden, Monolithic developed a new way of making attractive, practical flower beds, using thin concrete and a material we’ve recently discovered and have been working with: basalt rebar. That led to a new way of making tough, long-lasting but good-looking fences. That process also uses spray-on concrete and basalt rebar. Learn all about both items in this delightful video, narrated by President David South.
I am often amazed by a community’s initial response for permission to build affordable, clean, safe, low-maintenance, long-lasting housing.
The American Institute of Human Relations and Aging (AIHRA) is a non-profit organization aimed at raising awareness of the emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of daily life in old age. One of the institute’s goals is to develop cognitive and social programs for the elderly with various interests and capabilities.
Another big milestone is in store for the St. Mary and St. Mercurius Coptic Orthodox Church in New Jersey. It’s the week church officials go before the local zoning board for the fourth time to seek approval for a new Monolithic Dome youth center.
Keith Wortman’s Monolithic Dome home in Fairplay, Colorado has made a lot of headlines over the years. The Denver Post, the Colorado Springs Gazette and even USA Today have featured the home, which has been christened Bristlecone Dome. In 2010, the home received so much publicity before the annual dome home tour that more than 700 people turned out to see the unusual property.
Bobzio.com is a website where travelers can find vacation rentals or home exchanges. It recently started publicizing homes that have green building designs and construction techniques. Not surprisingly, a Monolithic Dome home made the list.
An Oklahoma school district is hoping to receive a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to supplement a $1.7 proposed bond issue needed to fund new construction. Hulbert Public Schools in Hubert would use the federal money to finance a new Monolithic Dome elementary school and cafeteria that would double as community disaster shelters.
Knowing that a Monolithic Dome would make an ideal fertilizer storage, in 1978 I sent information to a fertilizer magazine. They wrote an article, featuring the Monolithic Dome as a new product, and I received a call from Bill Matthews in Chandler, Oklahoma. Bill wanted a fertilizer storage dome on a site just off America’s famous U.S. 66.
It’s 2012, and you’ve no doubt heard one or more of the various prophecies about the changes that this year is expected to bring. Some interpret the 2012 Mayan prophecies to mean that the world as we know it will end this year. But others see the prophecies instead as foretelling the end of violence, jealousy, hate and disharmony.
Because of their disaster-resistant qualities, Monolithic Domes are ideal for storing critical data and other essential records that must be protected in case of a tornado or hurricane. That’s why American Business Continuity Domes (ABC Domes) has dedicated its business to building disaster-resistant Monolithic Dome data storage facilities.
Are you looking for a home that can stand up to the strongest of winds and the most devastating of earthquakes? You’ve come to the right place! Mother Nature Network just ranked Monolithic Domes among the top five of the world’s most indestructible homes.
American Free Press (AFP) bills itself as a no-nonsense, uncensored, independent weekly source for important news about the pressing issues facing our nation and the world today. As such, its staff writers take the time to meet the people and explore the ideas that point towards a brighter future. That’s according to Mark Anderson, who made a recent road stop at the Monolithic Dome Institute in Texas and later wrote about our structures.
In 2000, Catalytic Software, a global enterprise, began the construction of a massive, self-sustaining complex of domes, that would include attractive, safe areas for living, working and socializing. Located on 50 acres in Hyderabad, India’s hi-tech hub, this city of 4000 domes, mostly EcoShells, is called New Oroville.
Dr. Arnold Wilson doesn’t credit human ingenuity for the invention of a dome — he credits the egg. Wilson, who retired after completing a 40-year career as Civil Engineering Professor at Brigham Young University, says, “The egg has always fascinated me. You can see that it’s the shape and structure of the shell that gives it its strength. Much the same is true for a dome, and I think we borrowed from nature when we began building domes.”
After reviewing the FEMA requirements for a structure capable of providing a safe shelter for people in areas where hurricanes and tornados represent a real danger, the Monolithic Dome, because of its very nature, heads the list for economy and strength to resist extreme loads.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, but the Monolithic Dome comes close. The original cost of a Monolithic Dome is generally less than that of a similar- size conventional building. Often it is much less. Then there is cost recovery. Generally, over a period of twenty years, savings in energy costs will equal the full cost of a Monolithic Dome facility. So, in effect, it becomes free.
A home comes in two parts; the first part is the investment. With the investment comes its value as a family domicile, a place of refuge (if it is strong enough to be a refuge), and a place for the family to gather, work, struggle and grow together. The second part of the house is the money pit. That’s the cost of maintenance, fuel, electricity and manpower it takes to maintain and operate a house. The money pit is where you throw hard-earned cash that’s never seen again by you, the homeowner.
As a young man, I recall sitting in church and looking at a large painted mural at the front of our chapel. It depicted the parable of the ten virgins – five wise and five foolish. I knew that the five foolish ones had arrived without sufficient oil while the five wise ones had plenty. I also knew that when the bridegroom showed up, the smarties who came prepared were allowed to go in with him; the others were not. At the time, I didn’t understand that; it all seemed a bit cruel to me. As I matured, I realized that preparedness definitely has its rewards.
For Nanette South, David B. South’s daughter, years of study and work have culminated in a thesis titled, “A Finite Element Analysis of the Monolithic Dome.” Its ten chapters, figures and tables discuss the history of thin-shell and Monolithic Domes, shell theory, finite element analysis, comparisons of shell theories and a buckling analysis.
When David South founded Domes for the World in 2005, he envisioned the construction of safe, low-cost dome homes for the poorest people on the planet. His vision has turned into reality as EcoShell domes have been built in countries like Indonesia, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Bolivia
Chris Zweifel, now 41 and successfully operating ZZ Consulting, said that he always wanted to be an engineer. The question was what kind since engineering encompasses many branches. “I couldn’t make up my mind – had a hard time figuring it out,” Chris admits. Finally, about the time he began working on his bachelor’s degree, he decided on Civil Engineering.
Monolithic Dome walls are not only good for our environment, safe from natural disasters and cost effective, they’re easy and fun to decorate. Yes, curved walls are finally coming into their own. What decorators used to puzzle over and dread now has them cheering and praising.
Thanksgiving is still a few days away, but we are already giving thanks that HGTV is planning to feature the beloved Hobbit House of Montana on the show Home Strange Home on Thursday, November 24 at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific time. Host Chris Grundy will take viewers on a tour of the “magical shire in mystical Montana.”
In 2004, Monolithic designed a dome for DuPont. They wanted a structure that could survive a category 5 (155+ mph winds and 18+ foot surge) hurricane, for their plant in DeLisle, Mississippi. It got tested by Hurricane Katrina.