Monolithic’s David B. South traveled to South Texas recently for the dedication of the new Eagle Dome at the Woodsboro Independent School District. The new Monolithic Dome, which was financed in part by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is being billed as a prototype for shelters of last resort in coastal areas, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
We received a call from a homeowner in Forreston, Texas. She wanted us to examine the creek bank in front of her house. The creek had seriously started to erode and her house was seriously getting closer to the creek. She was really worried about it falling into the creek if she lost a few more feet.
For many years Monolithic has been researching and developing protection for the Airform, the exterior fabric on a Monolithic Dome. That fabric is the weakest link of the Monolithic Dome, yet it serves two absolutely vital functions. As its name implies, the Airform forms the critical shape of the structure. That’s its primary function. But it also has an equally vital secondary function: An Airform protects the dome’s polyurethane foam insulation from sunshine and weather. But it’s made of fabric materials that, over time, the sun can slowly degrade. So to do its job, obviously the Airform needs help.
Fathers Day, 2011: On that day the Antelope Springs Ranch in Blackwell, Texas fell victim to a wildfire that blazed across the Lone Star State. This fire destroyed 100,000 acres before it was stopped.
Brigham City, located in Box Elder County, Utah, population 18,000, is home to Lori Hunsaker, editor of the Box Elder News Journal and owner of a beautiful 32′ × 18′ elliptical Monolithic Dome home.
In 1986 John Ayers of Presidio County, Texas became concerned about nuclear fallout from a dropped bomb. He wanted to be safe and asked me to build an underground house for him, which we did in the late summer of that year.
I keep hoping a day will come when we’re no longer thinking that we may need a bomb or fallout shelter. But it seems more and more likely that the need will occur before that day does.
Managed Organic Recycling (MOR) has developed a new composting technology. Its called Aerated Static Pile or simply ASP.
During the 2010 Annual Monolithic Dome Tour, we had more than 100 curious visitors to our dome home in Galax, Virginia. One of those visitors remembered the efficiency of our Monolithic Dome and invited us to a LandCare Grayson (County, Virginia) meeting.
Trinidad, a Texas rural community of 1100 and school district with about 300 students, has been using its Monolithic Dome gymnasium and field house for about seven years now, since their completion in October 2004.
When Monolithic began offering water filters, David South, our company president, began getting questions. “Why is Monolithic talking about water filters?” someone asked. “What do water filters have to do with domes?” another queried. And a third simply asked, “What’s the connection?”
Doing well by doing good. That’s a motto that David B. South has lived by since he first started building Monolithic Domes back in the 1970s. Now his philanthropic efforts are being highlighted by one of the nation’s savviest young entrepreneurs.
One of our recent workshop attendees submitted a slide show that shows the construction of a Monolithic Gazebo. Monolithic Gazebos are constructed using the Ecoshell I construction method. This Monolithic structure as well as a Monolithic Grow Dome were constructed by the workshop attendees during the September 2011 Workshop.
On October 21, 2007, in Santiago Canyon, a hilly, wooded area of Orange County California, an arsonist and the dry, ferocious Santa Ana winds formed a devastating alliance. Together they created and quickly spread a blaze that forced 3000 residents out of their homes. The wood house of Melody and Phil McWilliams was one that was totally destroyed. “All of a sudden, there we were with no home!” Phil said.
The wonderland that Steve and Christine Michaels have created around their Monolithic Dome home is once again making headlines. This time it’s the hometown newspaper, the Billings Gazette, that is putting the spotlight on the unusual property. As we’ve reported, the New York Times and MTV Extreme Homes have also come calling.
Workers building everything from plants to pipelines, in thousands of locations and at sites that are far from any accommodations, need somewhere to sleep, shower, fix a quick snack or just relax.
Time and time again, we’ve seen Monolithic Domes survive Mother’s Nature’s greatest wrath: from Category 5 hurricanes in Florida to EF5 tornadoes in the Midwest. Awareness has been growing in recent years of just how strong these building are. So strong, in fact, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now providing funding to schools and other public entities that build domes that double as community disaster shelters.
When sprayed on the interior of a building, with no covering such as shotcrete or drywall, polyurethane foam can create a dangerous fire hazard. Monolithic Domes are as close to fireproof as you can make a building with today’s technology. Yet they have urethane as a major component. Currently, urethane foam is the world’s best insulation, but let me tell you the rest of the story.
Can a quality bandshell be designed and built economically? Yes – with a Monolithic Dome as the curved form that a bandshell needs.
Monolithic, Inc. has been building fertilizer storage facilities for decades. The strong, steel-reinforced concrete structures are well-suited for chemical storage because they can handle the corrosive elements in the fertilizer. They also can withstand the abuse of front loaders and other heavy machinery used to move the chemicals from one location to another. An added bonus is the dome’s energy-efficiency, which makes air-conditioning them cost-efficient, keeping condensation to a minimum.
Fly ash closely resembles volcanic ashes used in production of the earliest known hydraulic cements about 2,300 years ago. Those cements were made near the small Italian town of Pozzuoli – which later gave its name to the term pozzolan. A pozzolan is a siliceous/aluminous material that, when mixed with lime and water, forms a cementitious compound. Fly ash is the best known, and one of the most commonly used, pozzolans in the world.
One of the greatest advantages a Monolithic Dome has over other structures is the lack of exterior sound transmission through the structure. Outside noises are rarely heard on the inside of the Dome.
It’s perhaps the best known of all the Monolithic Dome homes in the world, and it continues to make headlines every time a hurricane threatens the U.S. mainland. Eye of the Storm on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, was the focus of another news feature after Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast.
Indoor golf may now be affordable utilizing the Monolithic Dome. A nine-hole course could be built perfectly in four, 400-foot domes. Proposed plans include two holes in each of three domes and three holes in the fourth dome.
Somewhere between 24 to 36 hours after Katrina made landfall, Pastor Jeff Ulmer of New Life Family Church returned to the 150-foot diameter dome church to assess damages. After finding the building to be structurally sound, he quickly opened church doors to relief workers.
The wildfires raging across Texas have heightened interest in fire-resistant Monolithic Domes, as home owners look for greater protection against all types of natural disasters. The general public will have the opportunity to learn more about these unusual homes when the Monolithic Dome Institute opens many of the dome homes on its property for public tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 as part of the 11th annual Fall Dome Tour.
“Polyurethane foam is no stranger to us,” said Monolithic’s President David B. South in a recent discussion of home insulation at MDI headquarters in Italy, Texas. “After all, it’s a major component of the Monolithic Dome building process,” he continued. “But I’m still continually surprised by how little the construction industry and the average American homeowner know about this wonderful product.”
Bulk Materials is a term used for large quantities of similar material. Bulk storage is the term for buildings that store bulk commodities such as cement, sand, frac sand, salt, fertilizer, feed, grains, aggregates, carbon, chips, seeds, peanuts, coke, blasting powder – and the list goes on. Capacities may vary from a few hundred tons to many thousand tons.
Here is a suggested way to settle an estate. As the oldest in our family, this is the plan that I devised at the time of my mother’s death:
To bend or not to bend? That is the question if you’re talking about bending reinforcing steel bars (rebar) that are partially embedded in concrete, as we do in the Monolithic Dome construction process.
Monolithic Domes — those sturdy, most stationery of stationery structures — have entered a new realm — the realm of fantasy. Rick Crandall, Consulting Architect, says, “Monolithic Domes make perfect fantasy domes, and they are rapidly gaining popularity for fantasy environments such as those in theme parks, water parks, zoos, theaters, planetariums — even shopping malls.”
One of the characteristics of polyurethane foam is density. Density equals how many pounds per cubic foot it weighs. So when we say we want two-pound density foam, it means we want two pounds per cubic foot of foam weight. This can be a little confusing.
Several years ago a teacher in our school district decided to show the modern version of Last of the Mohicans as part of her literature class. The movie is R-rated and one of the students protested. She said that she and her family “never watched R-rated movies.”
When we think of people who do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation, the image of refugees in Africa or other parts of the developing world usually come to mind. But the poor and homeless in the United States often face the very same problems, according to a U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. After a U.S. visit earlier this year, the U.N. investigator Catarina de Albuquerque found that the challenges faced by U.S. homeless are in violation of international human rights standards.
As my wife and I prepare for future exterior work on our Monolithic Dome, and to keep up with recommended Airform maintenance, it’s finally time to wash our Airform again.
Jay Williams said, “I thought about building a Monolithic Dome for some months. Then I decided I had some questions and the best way to answer them was through a Workshop. It can’t hurt a thing to take the training.” He enrolled in the October 2003 Workshop. About it, he said, “The Workshop was a real eye-opener. It gave me a clear understanding. I learned a lot and I enjoyed it – both the classroom time and working at the job site. I sprayed foam, I sprayed concrete, I tied steel – I did all that stuff.”
Even though we’re in the midst of hurricane season, the memories of the 2011 tornadoes are still fresh in the minds of most people. This year will go down as the deadliest tornado year since The National Weather Service began keeping records, with more than 500 fatalities. That’s one of the reasons why Jon Thompson wrote a feature story on the protection that Monolithic Domes can offer on Architecture Suite 101
To understand the Seismic Zoning method and how it pertains to the Monolithic Dome, we must first understand what effective peak ground acceleration means and how it is measured against gravity.
Generally, in the US, footings are not insulated. By not insulating the footing, we have a place where cold can enter our houses. Monolithic Dome builders may need to consider insulating footings of Monolithic Dome homes to provide a thermal break and reduce chances for condensation and/or mold growth.
When I started building Monolithic Domes, I wanted to know how to make the strongest possible concrete. How much and what kind of cement, water, rock, sand, admixtures, etc. should we use? I went to the Portland Cement Association for advice. I asked other shotcreters. Over the years, I have tried every mix we could think of.
Monolithic Domes make fantastic schools. Ward Huffman of the Department of Energy called them “self-replicating.” Generally, Monolithic Dome schools pay for themselves in energy savings within 20 years.
The owners of this grand dome-home have asked us not to publish their names or their dome’s exact location. We do, however, have permission to share these photos with our readers.
Pastor Ronnie Trice and his wife Sandy organized Maranatha Church in December 1973, initially to serve its local community of Mont Belvieu, Texas. But church membership increased rapidly, so its congregation soon outgrew the sanctuary they then used, which seated six hundred.
Check out nature’s way of coating a dome by scrolling through the pictures. (Click the top image and scroll thru the images and captions.) This unique way provides protection as well as beauty to the outside of your dome.
We’re having a heat wave! A tropical heat wave! When this photo was taken, we here in Italy, Texas were enduring our 60th day of daytime temperatures of 100F degrees or more! And our nighttime temperatures stay in the 80s.
It is a well known fact that if you get below the surface of the earth a few feet, the temperature tends to be very even and at a constant 55 to 60 degrees, depending on latitude. So, it does not take a genius to understand that if you could move outside air through a buried pipe, you could alter its temperature and then move it into a house where it can warm or cool the home’s interior.
Note: Kenneth Garcia, a professional engineer, and Beverly, his wife, are the proud owners of Sweet Dome Alabama, their Monolithic Dome home in New Hope, Alabama.
Back when their children were just kids and Beverly and Kenneth Garcia took family vacations, they discovered beautiful New Hope, Alabama. “We were then living in Mississippi, but we fell in love with the New Hope area,” Bev said. “It’s gorgeous up here – the mountains and the lake and we like to fly fish.” Then and there Ken and Bev decided that when they retired, they would relocate to New Hope.
If you want to start a fight, just ask a room full of spray concrete operators: What’s the best system for applying concrete?
Many years ago I decided I wanted a fire-suppression system in my home. I was not interested in fire extinguishers that may or may not work and seem always in the way. I wanted an actual, simple, but extremely effective water system.