This blog welcomes and includes contributions by all Monolithic Dome enthusiasts, as well as illustrated articles that feature interviews we have done with various experts. It also includes fun videos. Best of all, the blog includes a special section in which owners can post information and pictures of a completed Monolithic Dome home that is for sale. We feel that information should be a help to folks wishing to sell their Monolithic Dome home as well as those looking to buy. Please visit the ‘Round To It blog frequently and review items as they’re submitted.
This year marks two exciting anniversaries for Monolithic: the 20th anniversary of the Monolithic Dome Institute and the 40th anniversary of the first Monolithic Dome. We take a brief look back on those years and look forward to the future.
“For as long as I can remember, my dad has wanted a Monolithic Dome home,” said Alise Burke in an email about her dad’s new tornado shelter. It’s actually an Ecoshell — a concrete-only dome thinshell. They painted it to look like a Minion from the movie Despicable Me. Burke lives in the country next door to her dad, Ed Kelton, near Farmersville, Texas. Last December “a tornado tore through our rural community and many of our neighbors and my students lost their homes and one lost their child.”
Ever wonder what the weather’s like at Monolithic? No? Okay, but just in case you were wondering, we have the answer — a Weather Underground connected weather station. It was a Christmas present for David B. South and it’s got all the bells and whistles with temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure, rainfall sensor, humidity, data logging.
Rarely does a home with such a rich history and distinctive architecture become available. This extraordinary home — which sits on approximately 3 acres — was constructed in 1978 by the current, original owners. It was a time between two of the worst energy crises in the U.S. — 1973 and 1979 — caused by interruptions in petroleum exports from the Middle East. Oil prices skyrocketed, and many homeowners began to look for alternative energy sources to run their homes. Others decided the best solution was to use less energy.
The concrete thinshell is complete for our new Monolithic Dome home. Javier, Hector and Jose did a fabulous job. They finished painting the interior last week and returned to Texas. It’s been a long process to get this dome built and now that it’s set in concrete (literally), we love it. It’s time to start work on the interior, but before we begin, let’s talk about how we got here.
We are often asked if living in a Monolithic Dome is like living in a cave. It’s hard for some people to imagine a bright and beautiful interior that’s curved. Even more difficult is imagining the possibilities a dome structure provides. Usually people ask questions about hanging pictures or how well furniture fits against the dome wall. Sometimes, however, designers break through the square world and show us how it’s done. In Sweden, a temporary ice hotel is a masterpiece of curved architecture.
The Tupelo City Council approved two Monolithic Dome safe rooms — one for Lee Acres, Mississippi and the other for Theron Nichols Park, Mississippi. Each will be large enough to hold over 1,000 residents during a major storm. FEMA grants will pay 90 percent of the cost.
Greg Miller submitted this great HD aerial video of the Catoosa Public Schools safe room under construction. You can see that work continues on the exterior while Monolithic construction crews work inside. The Monolithic Dome concrete shell is expected to be finished before Christmas.
Fedor Pavlovskiy is a Monolithic Dome Builders Workshop graduate of April 2014. He recently sent us pictures of a shotcrete pump and 20-foot Ecoshell he built in Russia.
School officials in Hartshorne, Oklahoma want $7.7 million for two safe-rooms — or as we like to think of them — a brand-new, start-of-the-art gymnasium and computer center. It’s quite a different perspective if you think of money serving two purposes. The planned high school gymnasium would be a 150-foot diameter Monolithic Dome with four locker rooms, concessions, offices, a competition basketball court, and seating for 1,200. Plus it’s a tornado shelter! The elementary school gets a brand new library and computer center in a 70-foot diameter dome. And it’s a tornado shelter, too!
We’re building a new Monolithic Dome home. It’s been ten years since we left Texas and our wonderful Callisto dome house. Although we love living in Cache Valley — it’s like a swiss valley nestled in the northern Utah mountains — we miss our dome. I grew up in domes. My wife and kids lived in a dome for 10 years. I’m part of the dome business. It’s time to build a dome home.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, but when in Indonesia, use coconuts to build scale models of dome projects! Albert Einstein purportedly said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” We agree and think this coconut model of a future project of Indonesian dome builder, Antonius “Yoss” Yusanto, is both creative and smart.
Musician, Rich Lynch recently told us, “The only thing I thought I could do to get the dream of living in a dome moving along was to write a song about it.”
Well, he did and we think it’s great! According to his website, “Rockin’ Rich Lynch has been writing and recording music for over 30 years.” This indie rocker out of New Jersey hoping to build his Monolithic Dome Home soon says he’s “ready to build this house – and career – one song at a time.”
The Monolithic Dome Institute (MDI) teamed up with Engineer Morris Boughton to study wind speed over the top of a Monolithic Dome. During a series of tests in Avalon, Texas, the hypothesis that the wind speed increases over the top of the dome was proven.
My imagined neighborhood of Monolithic Dome-like structures would have come out of yesterday’s Midwest storms with minimal damage to homes.
A First Lego League (FLL) team, Steel of the Knights, selected Monolithic Domes as their “Natures Fury” season project this year. They have been invited to participate in the Iowa School Board Association annual Expo.
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.
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.
In 2012 our total energy costs were just under $950! That’s just under the average energy cost per household of $962 for a one-person household in 1997!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
After the May 22 tornado devastated Joplin, a two-day workshop titled “Rebuild Joplin Strong” was organized for July 8-9 at Missouri Southern State University. David South was asked to present information about Monolithic Domes at this workshop. He and Judy, his wife, traveled to Joplin and were saddened by what they saw and heard.
As a professional with experience in the best practices of gerontology, psychology and human relations both in Europe and America, I believe that Old Age should be as enjoyable as any other season of human life. The Future of Senior Living Project has a mission to create, implement and continuously develop an innovative concept for happy and healthy aging in a safe and comfortable home and family environment, with opportunities for community senior activities and information resources for social, medical, financial and other services applicable to the elderly.
To dome or not to dome? That was my question. I had to make a decision about what to rebuild. Should I go with the traditional stick-built home or look at the alternative building techniques, which were becoming popular all over the country? I considered straw bales, earthship, earthbag, and several other options that would yield what I really wanted: an energy-efficient home.
In early 2010 my wife Maddy and I, as owners of a dome under construction, submitted our original “Cold Study” article to Monolithic. Now that we’re living in our furnished dome, we wanted to share more energy consumption data, again concentrating on the colder months in SW Virginia. These data are reported in the attached tables.
While many seniors want and need a space-thrifty home, it’s got to be something they can easily manage on a day-to-day basis. So while I think David’s ideas for a small dome equipped with mechanized, dual-purpose furniture are practical and workable for young adults, I don’t think they’re right for seniors.
On the Monolithic Forum (Bulletin Board) there is an entire discussion topic titled “Low Income Housing.” Recently, David B. South made a post detailing his experiences in the subject matter.
Recently David South created a discussion topic on the Monolithic Forum (Bulletin Board). In this thread, he is spreading the word about dome home financing.
In a lengthy discussion about dome hybrids and greenhouses on the Monolithic Forum (Bulletin Board), David South recently added a comment. With more and more inquires coming into the Monolithic offices regarding these types of structures, read what David had to say on this subject.
Earlier this fall a thread was started on the Monolithic Forum (Bulletin Board) about radiant heat. Read the discussion along with what David South had to add.
On a stretch of Interstate 35, in Central Texas between Waco and Waxahachie, is an enormous caterpillar. The curious stop to explore and come across Monolithic Dome Village. The caterpillar is a manufacturing warehouse; there are dome offices, dome storage buildings and upwards of 60 domes rented out as single person dwellings. I was informed that these buildings are ‘green’ in every way. They will withstand winds of 450 miles an hour (FEMA rates them as near absolute protection), they are environmentally friendly and have an R value of 60. Their lifespan is measured in centuries, they don’t burn, or rot, or get eaten by termites. I decided to sign up for the workshop that Monolithic offers to learn how to build them.
“Living Round” is a research project that earned an “A” for Julie Brown, who compared some popular residential construction methods and concluded that none surpassed the Monolithic Dome.
Referring to his 40-year teaching career as a Professor of Civil Engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU) and his more than 30 years as Monolithic’s Senior Consulting Engineer, Dr. Arnold Wilson said, “It’s just been a wonderful trip for me. It’s been exciting. I have done things that I had never even dreamed that I would do.”
For more than a dozen years, Freda (Grones) Parker has been Monolithic Inc.’s head writer, reporter and historian. Most of the articles in the Roundup Magazine and Monolithic’s website were written by her, along with several of our books. This month, Freda celebrates two major milestones: her 10th wedding anniversary and her 75th birthday. In appreciation for all of her efforts on our behalf over the years, we wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to her many accomplishments.
So you’re nested in the mountains and up comes a cold spell. What to do? Maddy and I decided to turn our dome-in-progress into a controlled laboratory with the goal of putting the thermodynamics of thin shell concrete domes to the test.
When the iPhone came out, we could immediately recognize the benefits. We knew that if we were going to make the switch to the iPhone, we would have to come up with a dome calculator.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When we partnered with Energy Star I noticed a section called Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits. So I thought I would check it out.
For the little dome lovers to enjoy.
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We recently visited your location in Italy and we drew a little comic. We didn’t know where to email it to, but we wanted to share it with everyone.
The Arcadia Round Barn really is quite the sight to see. Located on Route 66 in the heart of Arcadia, Oklahoma, The Round Barn is one of our nation’s unique landmarks.