Interior construction is underway for Dave & Mary Spellings’ Monolithic Dome home — the Palapa Pineapple — in Belize. Dave Spellings said he got the idea about 25 years ago when he visited Ivan Sheinbaum’s Xanadu Resort on Ambergris Caye in Belize. “I wanted a smaller, more unique shape, with one room on top of the other. I squeezed the dome into the shape it’s in.”
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Judy Lynne South — loving wife of David B. South and beloved mother of ten. She died in Waxahachie, Texas, on Monday, February 25, 2019.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Arthur J. “Jack” Boyt, Jr. Jack is the pioneer of Airform membrane design and a key figure in the Monolithic Dome industry from nearly its beginning. He passed away on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at the age of 93 in his home in Ankeny, Iowa.
Listen to David B. South, founder of the Monolithic Dome Institute, explain the disaster resistant quality of Monolithic Domes.
There’s a nice interview with David South by Off The Grid Radio. It’s a podcast where they discuss how the Monolithic Dome resists hurricanes and other disasters.
I’m often asked if there’s a trick to installing fireplaces in a Monolithic Dome. It’s actually pretty straightforward. The real question is, “Do you need the fireplace?” I see the romantic appeal of visiting around a glowing fire or the desire to reduce your heating bill. However, the energy efficiency of the dome typically changes a need for a fireplace into a want.
John Belles was interviewed on NPR Morning Edition about his Monolithic Dome that survived the largest wildfire in Washington state history. It’s another in a prolific stream of news articles about the dome. We liked what John told the reporter, “You could build a square house that was nonflammable. There’s lots of advanced materials and whatnot. They still build out of stick, though.”
This unique and fantastic Monolithic Dome home could be yours for only an essay and an entry fee! Built by the current owners in 1999, the home sits on 10.37 acres of beautiful, rolling countryside in Lowell, Indiana. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from major shopping and dining locations, and just 45 minutes from downtown Chicago. Thyme for Bed is Chicagoland’s ONLY Monolithic Dome Bed & Breakfast!
The fourth Monolithic Dome built outside Idaho was in Chandler, Oklahoma for Bill Matthews in 1978. I had written an article for a fertilizer magazine explaining how a Monolithic Dome would be a terrific fertilizer storage. Bill read the article and flew to Idaho to see our domes. We hadn’t built a fertilizer storage, yet. His would be the first and it opened the gates to fertilizer domes all along the Mississippi River.
Curling is called chess on ice. It’s easy to see why. It requires a unique combination of strategy, teamwork, and skill. People love it. Its popularity has exploded — especially after it became an Olympic sport. With more players than ever, more curling rinks are needed. One person told me there are 35 proposed rinks for the Chicago area alone. We’ve been receiving more calls and decided to look at how a dedicated curling facility would work in the Monolithic Dome.
The Heywood family cabin started over a year ago and is almost complete. It is in the deep snow of northern Arizona so they have to wait until spring to complete it. The dome is 58-feet diameter with three levels surrounding a central gathering room.
We regularly receive emails asking about using hempcrete in the Monolithic Dome or EcoShell. Hempcrete uses natural hemp fibers embedded in a lime binder — usually cement. It can provide some insulation and a little strength, but if used in a Monolithic Dome it actually weakens the dome and reduces its energy efficiency.
As the Monolithic Dome becomes more popular, how does it keep its celebrity status from going to its head? Find out in Barry Byers’ latest comic.
From the very first thoughts of geodesic domes to the invention of the Monolithic Dome and finally the Crenosphere, read the personal story of the history of the Monolithic Dome as told by David B. South in his latest President’s Sphere.
What happens when a conventional cabin visits the Monolithic Dome Resort? They become a pesky tourist, full of questions.
Can a Monolithic Dome stop a .30-06 bullet? Find out in David South’s latest President’s Sphere, where he discusses this, and the durability of the Monolithic Dome’s exterior, recounting several stories of domes hit by extreme hail storms with virtually no lasting damage.
What happens when a Monolithic Dome and a conventional home go head-to-head in a weightlifting contest? Find out in Barry Byers’ latest cartoon, “Strength Test.”
In David B. South’s latest President’s Sphere, he addresses the risks of constructing low-profile Monolithic Domes. Using his forty years of experience building Monolithic Domes and thin-shell pioneer, Dr. Arnold Wilson’s engineering expertise, he cautions dome-builders that dropping the profiles of Airformed domes can have catastrophic consequences with no appreciable benefits.
Have we mentioned that Monolithic Domes are super strong? Cuzzins Jeb and Joe found that out the hard way in Barry Byers’ latest Monolithic Dome Comic, The Legend of Domestone.
Are you afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
Monolithic Dome Houses are the houses of the future…just ask B.C. The creators of the comic strip “B.C.” show logically, The Evolution of the Domicile, in this comic strip. Keep thinking round!
A beautiful Airform was inflated recently for Shallowater ISD’s new practice gym. Read more for Airform details and to view more photos.
Dome homes are both safe and spacious.
A lighter side of the Monolithic Dome.
Can you imagine being able to build a concrete dome on the seashore using only the available sea water and beach sand? David B. South addresses the building of Ecoshells using salt water and salty sand in his latest “President’s Sphere.” The use of basalt rebar makes this not only possible, but completely simple and feasible.
The ammonium nitrate storage in West, Texas that exploded on April 17 illustrates how other structures could have that same problem.
This cartoon depicts in a funny way what often happens to building projects. A school or prospective home owner will describe their needs to a contractor and will very often end up with an end result far different than what was needed.
School children were killed in the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma in the spring of 2013. That need not happen at your school – or any school. It is possible to have A TORNADO-SAFE and AFFORDABLE SCHOOL.
Since the fall of 2007, financing homes, especially Monolithic Dome homes, has become a big problem. The federal government, determined to keep the banks from failing, established new rules for home financing. Those rules helped the banks and some home owners, but they destroyed the progress being made by builders of energy-efficient, greener, better homes. How do we get those rules reversed?
Goals are like road maps. If you reach for a goal and get side tracked, it is no more serious than driving for a destination and missing a turn. On the other hand, very few people ever get anywhere by wandering aimlessly.
Like many traditional schools, this building has a line of 20 air conditioning units along its back wall. The companion building has another 20 units along its back wall. That’s 40 AC units at just one school! Consider what it costs to install 20 units. How much electrical do those 20 units require? How much copper? How much just plain expense does it take to install and run 20 units?
People go through one of our Workshops to learn about and actually experience the construction of a Monolithic Dome. Some actually want to start a dome-building business of their own. But what should they start with? What’s their first product – a Monolithic Dome home? That sounds far too complicated for most beginners.
Many people do not know that there are some serious tax implications for designers of public-funded structures. Such buildings include schools, city halls – anything paid for with public monies. I urge architects and designers to review Section 179-D of the tax code. You as a designer can get a tax rebate of up to a $1.80 per square foot when you design these publicly financed buildings.
When I decided to build a dome behind my house, I wanted to do something a little different. So we built a tilted-out augment onto the dome. The augment provides good protection from the elements. It keeps the doors and windows out of the rain, and it should make them last longer.
To those that are in the designing of buildings and the calculating of energy cost, I suggest you look at the following website: www.energy-design-tools.aud.ucla.edu/heed/.
In 2008, Monolithic Constructors, Inc. completed work on a 50′ × 25′ central dome, flanked by two 36′ × 16′ side domes for Wayne Brannon of Decatur, Texas. About four years later, we were asked to coat the domes, that had rock applied to their bottom sections, with Monolithic Stucco.
I am writing this piece to give Monolithic Dome owners some hints on getting insurance for their homes as well as commercial buildings.
This handheld shotcrete sprayer is easy to load and has a surprisingly good throughput. We have used it to spray a number of small projects, and its fast, efficient design has saved us time and money. Its all-steel construction means that it is long lasting and will prove to be a good investment.
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.
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.
A new book about a dome pioneer!
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.
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!
I am often amazed by a community’s initial response for permission to build affordable, clean, safe, low-maintenance, long-lasting housing.
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.
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.
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.
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.