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Monolithic Dome Benefits: Survivability

Whether it’s your home, your children’s school or some other structure that you and your loved ones spend time in, nothing beats knowing that you’re in a place that cannot be destroyed by most natural or manmade disasters. That’s the confidence Monolithic Domes offer. They meet or exceed FEMA’s standards for providing near-absolute protection. Monolithic Domes are proven survivors of tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and fires.

Monolithic Domes: Surviving Bullets, Projectiles, Tornadoes

Image: The rifle used in this test was a Ruger 10/22, using a very standard 40 grain projectile. Damage from this rifle was minimal.

As they say on TV, “Don’t try this at home.” Don’t shoot holes in your home with a 30-06 caliber rifle. To test the bullet-resisting strength of a Monolithic Dome, Gary Clark, our VP of Sales, fired at our Monolithic Dome storage buildings. (Continued…)

Domers respond to Moore, Oklahoma

Image: Seventeen hundred homes were totally destroyed by the tornado at Moore, Oklahoma. But notice the simple, concrete, thin shell, dome storage/tornado shelter — the sole survivor. Monolithic Domes survive tornadoes — schools, churches, homes, etc. Be safe.

Just a day after the devastating tornado in Moore, Monolithic began receiving phone calls and emails about that tragedy. We greatly appreciate all comments. (Continued…)

Monolithic Domes Have Blast-Resistant Strength

Image: Strength testing the Monolithic Dome at BYU Laboratories. The sand bags represent the amount of weight previously thought to be the maximum load this dome could take. The addition of the forklift did nothing. They were ultimately unable to break the shell by overloading it and had to take it apart with jackhammers.

In 1976 I hired a German engineer for a dome project in Germany. Although I never asked for it, he sent me a report stating that, during World War II, thin shell concrete buildings in Germany faired far better than other structures. (Continued…)

Dome Schools Make Disaster-Proof Promise

The Oklahoma City FOX affiliate KOKH TV online investigative report features part two of a special report about how Monolithic domes at one school could become the model for schools everywhere. (Continued…)

A Timely Message To All

Image: The Avalon School Multipurpose Center is now more than ten years old. It has survived much use by hundreds of students and community residents. It has also served as a tornado shelter sever times. One such tornado caused significant damage to other parts of the school and neighborhood. But those in the Monolithic Dome remained totally safe.
See: http://www.monolithic.com/stories/feature-school-avalon-highschool

Recently, the superintendent of the Avalon School District was asked if they planned to let school out because tornadoes were bouncing around the area. He said, “No. My children have no homes that they can go to that are as safe as our school. What I am doing is inviting the parents to come here and be with their children in a safe place.” (Continued…)

KMOV of St. Louis news article features Valley R-6 School District’s domes

A recent news article at KMOV-St. Louis features a video interview with Valley R-6 officials in Caledonia, Missouri. Quoting, ‘At first glance the five domes that make up Valley R-6 Elementary School in Caledonia, Missouri look odd, but school officials say they are the safest buildings in the face of a tornado. “They are tornado proof – hurricane proof – fire proof and so our kids are very safe,“ says Valley superintendent Brad Crocker.’ (Continued…)

Fire destroys contents but Monolithic Dome only needs washing

Image: 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. (Continued…)

David South at Wicked Weather Weekend

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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. (Continued…)

Fire: An unfortunate but convincing experience

Image: 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. (Continued…)

The Shocking Truth about Lightning and Monolithic Domes

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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? (Continued…)

Liquefaction and Earthquakes

Image: 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. (Continued…)

Monolithic Domes and Hail Damage

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. (Continued…)

Expert Extols Domes’ Virtues

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. (Continued…)

Design Advantages of the Monolithic Dome

Image: Monolithic Dome Rental in Italy, Texas — This Rental Unit provides secure, quiet, clean and affordable living accommodations even when an approaching storm darkens the skies.

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. (Continued…)

Your New House: Investment or Money Pit?

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. (Continued…)

Preparedness Takes Preparation

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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. (Continued…)

DuPont’s Monolithic Dome Hurricane Shelter

Image: Hurricane Shelter at DuPont’s Mississippi Gulf Coast Facility

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. (Continued…)

Shelter: It ain’t what it used to be!

In 1943 Abraham Maslow published his eye-opening paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, that featured a pyramid of human needs. Shelter,, a universal human need fell into the second longest level of this pyramid. But just what was shelter for the average American in 1943 and in the years that followed? For most of us it meant having a roof over our heads – a reliable one that could protect us from the rain, wind, cold and heat. That, however, is no longer true. (Continued…)

Monolithic Dome Survives Texas Wildfire

Image: June 2011: Texas wildfire destroyed 100,000 acres before it was stopped.

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. (Continued…)

Underground, Safe, Fallout Shelter/Home

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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. (Continued…)

Monolithic Bomb Shelters and Fallout Shelters

Image: This home under construction. It was built in 1987 and  is truly a nuclear fallout shelter.  The earth cover goes to the top of the pipes.  For more information see the John Ayers article.
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. (Continued…)

World’s Safest Severe Weather Buildings?

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. (Continued…)

Foam: Fire Hazard and Fire Barrier

Image: Fire damage from three wood structures and 300 gallons of transformer oil – Cargill – Channelview, TX
A violent, wind-driven fire fueled by three wood structures and 300 gallons of transformer oil burned about a third of the covering off this fertilizer storage. The fire was the worst possible. Late at night, wind blew the fire directly toward the building. The fire department was not immediately called, so the oil burned completely. Damage was most severe to the exterior. In a 12-square-foot area, urethane was totally burned off, but the rest suffered more minor damage. The foam could be cleaned and a coating or metal cladding could be installed over it. No damage was detected on the inside of the Monolithic Dome.
Note that the foam held the fire back for a considerable time, and then the nonflammable concrete ended any possibility of the flames burning through to the stored product. Materials inside the dome were totally unaffected by the fire, and the dome’s concrete interior never even got warm.

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. (Continued…)

Architecture Writer Touts the Benefits of Domes’ Tornado Resistance

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 (Continued…)

Understanding Seismic Zones

Image: US Geology Survey National Seismic Hazard Map —These maps are based on current information about the rate at which earthquakes occur in different areas and on how far strong shaking extends from earthquake sources. Colors on this particular map show the levels of horizontal shaking that have a 2 % chance of being exceeded in a 50 year period. Shaking is express as a percentage of g (g is the acceleration of a falling object due to gravity). Areas in red have a much higher likelihood than areas of white to be exceeded, for example.

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. (Continued…)

Dome Homes Popular Among Survivalists

We have documented evidence that “Monolithic Domes”/topics/domes can survive powerful hurricanes and tornadoes, and even wildfires. But what about a catastrophic event like the end of the world as we know it? Thankfully, we haven’t had to put a dome to that kind of test, at least not yet. But dome homes are popular among survivalists, especially those who are interested in an underground shelter. (Continued…)

David South visits Joplin

Image: On their drive into Joplin, Judy and David saw a lot of devastation. 

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. (Continued…)

An Engineer’s Aspect

Nanette South Clark, Manager of Engineering, shares her feelings on Joplin’s tragedy and America’s severe need for disaster-resistant homes, schools, hospitals, etc. She says, Monolithic Dome schools have actually been mostly funded by FEMA because they can be tornado shelters for entire communities. There is no reason that every town in “Tornado Alley” couldn’t have a Monolithic Dome Tornado Shelter. Yet people are so resistant to change (for the better even) that when it comes right down to it, many choose metal buildings and wood buildings because they don’t want something round in town…."   (Continued…)

A Testament to the Dome Shape

Image: Dome Shape Survives Direct Tornado Hit – On May 24, 2011 in Blanchard, OK, this house, which is a thin shell concrete dome but not a Monolithic Dome, was hit by an EF4 or EF5 tornado. Although badly damaged by heavy, flying debris, the dome shell survived. That, we think, is a testament to the dome shape. Conventional homes hit by this tornado were flattened and swept off their foundations.

At about 5:38 on a hot, humid afternoon, an EF4 tornado – possibly an EF5 – with winds of about 200 mph hit little Blanchard, Oklahoma and its 3225 residents. Fortunately unlike some of its neighbors hit by the same spate of tornadoes, Blanchard suffered no fatalities. But some people were hurt seriously and had to be hospitalized; 200 homes were either destroyed or damaged; vehicles were overturned and flung about; giant trees and shrubs were twisted and uprooted; heavy debris was blown hither and tither. (Continued…)

Dome Builder Prepares for Hurricane Season

While most Americans are focused on the devastating tornadoes that have been ransacking the nation, those who live in coastal areas have another type of natural disaster on their minds. Hurricane season began on June 1, and meteorologists are predicting that it could be a much more active than last year. (Continued…)

Tornadoes spark calls for rebuilding with safer structures

Sadly, it’s official. This year will go down as the deadliest tornado year since record keeping began, according to The National Weather Service. More than 500 people have died in tornadoes in 2011, with nearly half of the fatalities occurring in Alabama. Missouri ranks second with 139 deaths from the Joplin tornado alone.  (Continued…)

Monolithic Domes: A Tornado Solution That Is A Secret!

Image: Aerial image shows the swath the April 2011 tornado took, just glancing the Faith Chapel Campus.

Monolithic has been teaching, training, promoting and building these domes for 35 years. Some 4000 Monolithic Domes are in use, working and well proven in 52 countries and 49 American states. But they are still a secret! (Continued…)

Monolithic Dome Housing for the Caribbean

Like most of the Caribbean islands, St. Lucia is vulnerable to hurricanes. On the average, a severe storm brushes the area about every four years. The last one was Hurricane Dean, which blew by with 100 mile per hour winds in 2007 and tore many roofs away, even in the elegant community of Vigie, Castries where residences are supposed to be built well. The area’s vulnerability to hurricanes is one of the reasons that real estate developer John Craciun is looking to build Monolithic Domes in St. Lucia and the wider Caribbean. (Continued…)

Fire in Monolithic Dome Extinguishes Itself!

Image: Fire! — Apparently, a coffeepot started a fire in this Monolithic Dome rental unit.

A Thursday evening in September was quiet until the Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department were called to a fire in one of our rental domes. But the interesting part of this story is that the fire, inside the dome, extinguished itself! (Continued…)

Hurricane Keith Huffed and Puffed and…

Image: Hurricane Keith — Satellite imagery of the hurricane as it plowed inland over Belize.

Two Monolithic Domes endured and survived Hurricane Keith’s rampage virtually unscathed! They are the Monolithic Domes at the Xanadu Island Resort owned and managed by Ivan and Judy Sheinbaum on Ambergris Caye. (Continued…)

Potentially the Greenest of All Buildings

With hurricane season just around the corner, there’s a renewed focus on the Monolithic Dome’s ability to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s standards for near-absolute protection. Or as one blogger recently put it, people are interested in dome homes partly because they are the “most comfortable storm shelter you could ever live in.” But the article posted on the site, ForcedGreen.com, went on to recount the many other advantages offered by these so-called ”super structures,” and there are many. (Continued…)

Why build a concrete dome?

Image: Load testing — Load testing a small thin-shell dome at the BYU laboratories.

The concrete dome is similar in shape and structure to an egg which has always been a fascination. The egg shows us that a relatively soft and weak material can be used to create a very strong structural shape. A simple demonstration illustrating the strength of an egg was made using a 2′ × 10′ wood plank, supported on one end by a rigid support and on the other end by one hard boiled egg. Four bags of Portland Cement were placed on the plank, at center span, one at a time, for a total of 376 pounds or 188 pounds on one egg. The shell did not crack! Such is the strength of some domes. (Continued…)