Before the sun came up on a cold December morning, the crew turned on the four large blowers that were to inflate the structure. They said it should take about three hours to completely inflate, which gave my team plenty of time to set up the four time-lapse cameras, a drone, and several ground video cameras. Next thing we knew, the roof was up within minutes, including that big heavy ring. We were not ready! Think about this, an entire weather-sealed, full-size gymnasium was completely standing in about 45 minutes!
The Pantheon is arguably the first monolithic dome. Not in the sense of the modern, insulated structure, but as the original one-piece, monolithic, concrete dome — the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. No other significant structure of antiquity has survived as well preserved nor with the roof intact.
Central City Public Schools is constructing the first Monolithic Dome gymnasium in Nebraska. When the dome is opened in August 2020, it will seat 2,500 spectators and shelter over 3,000 people during severe weather. The facility is years in the making and it started with a simple internet search.
Today’s throwback story is from 1984 with a dome of firsts — the Maranatha Church — the first Monolithic Dome over 200-feet diameter, the first dome proving energy savings enough to pay for the building, and the first high capacity auditorium with seating for over 4,000.
It’s time to say goodbye to the South Sawmill Lodge. Randy South’s family of South Industries started the 90-foot diameter dome in 2009 on the old family homestead in Island Park, Idaho. Over the next four years, the family squeezed in time to finish the dome which became a lodge and reunion center rented out to dozens of families over the years. The lodge sold this spring.
How big is a Monolithic Dome that stores 10,000 tons of ammonium nitrate? Or 750,000 bushels of corn? Or 34,000 metric tonnes of gypsum? These are straightforward questions without quick answers — until now.
Today’s throwback is the story of an innovative school with an equally innovative campus — the largest underground educational campus in the world. When the school needed a new gymnasium they sought a solution as innovative as building underground — the Monolithic Dome.
It’s back! After a year and a half hiatus, the Monolithic Dome Builders Workshop resumes again in September 2021. Coronavirus restrictions are lifting. Travel is returning. We can finally gather to teach, discuss, and build another Monolithic Dome.
Stunning is the only word for it. It is a massive, red-rock coated Monolithic Dome nestled among the red landscape of Sedona, Arizona. The house contains 10 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, a fitness room, a theater, a beautiful kitchen, and so much more.
Inflatable shapes are the basic components of Monolithic Dome design. If it inflates, it can be constructed … probably. There are two primary shapes that dominate dome design — the sphere and half-ellipsoid. However, these are not the whole design palette. Sometimes we need to go beyond the basics. or in this case, beyond half of the ellipsoid.
Monolithic Domes are amazing. The insulation, coupled with the concrete’s thermal mass, creates an atmosphere that is hard to describe. Simply put, it feels the same today as it does in the middle of summer. If you set the thermostat at 70 (21°C), it just stays there. During the two-degree, 24 hour period, my heater ran for a total of 9 hours. This is a small heater, with only 30,000 BTUs. Most homes the size of mine have 100,000 BTU heaters, but even my neighbors with electricity struggled to stay warm with heaters running nearly 24/7.