The Birth of the Monolithic Dome—A Closer Look

David B. South at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho

David B. South at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho

Judy and David B. South on their wedding day, February 20, 1959.

Judy and David B. South on their wedding day, February 20, 1959.

David B. South in the computer center at Chicago Northwestern Railroad in Chicago, Illinois, 1968.

David B. South in the computer center at Chicago Northwestern Railroad in Chicago, Illinois, 1968. (RCA Pictures)

The polyurethane foam Bald Eagle created by Barry, David and Randy South for the July 4, 1976 Bicentennial Parade in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The polyurethane foam Bald Eagle created by Barry, David and Randy South for the July 4, 1976 Bicentennial Parade in Idaho Falls, Idaho. (Randy South)

Polyurethane foam trailer in front of South’s, Inc. in Shelley, Idaho. (Circa 1976)

Polyurethane foam trailer in front of South’s, Inc. in Shelley, Idaho. (Circa 1976) (David B. South)

Barry Jones, David’s 10-year-old cousin, holding a polyurethane boulder above his head, steadied by Randy South. (Circa 1971)

Barry Jones, David’s 10-year-old cousin, holding a polyurethane boulder above his head, steadied by Randy South. (Circa 1971) (David B. South)

A South’s, Inc. potato cellar urethane insulation advertisement in the Potato Growers Magazine. (Early 1970s)

A South’s, Inc. potato cellar urethane insulation advertisement in the Potato Growers Magazine. (Early 1970s)

Polyurethane foamed potato cellar completely destroyed by fire. (Circa 1974)

Polyurethane foamed potato cellar completely destroyed by fire. (Circa 1974) (David B. South)

The first dome constructed using Monolithic’s patented construction process. Shelley, Idaho – April 1976.

The first dome constructed using Monolithic’s patented construction process. Shelley, Idaho – April 1976. (South’s, Inc.)

A potato cellar in Shelley, Idaho, the first dome ever constructed using Monolithic’s patented construction process – April 1976.

A potato cellar in Shelley, Idaho, the first dome ever constructed using Monolithic’s patented construction process – April 1976. (South’s, Inc.)

The construction of the first dome built by Monolithic. Pictured, is the air-formed membrane ready to inflate—the first step in Monolithic’s patented construction process. Shelley, Idaho – April 1976.

The construction of the first dome built by Monolithic. Pictured, is the air-formed membrane ready to inflate—the first step in Monolithic’s patented construction process. Shelley, Idaho – April 1976. (South’s, Inc.)

The fabric membrane arrives on site to be inflated for the potato cellar in Shelley, Idaho that will be the first dome ever built using Monolithic’s patented construction process. April 1976.

The fabric membrane arrives on site to be inflated for the potato cellar in Shelley, Idaho that will be the first dome ever built using Monolithic’s patented construction process. April 1976. (South’s, Inc.)

David B. South standing in his newly-constructed dome potato cellar, the first dome ever constructed using Monolithic’s patented construction process. April 1976.

David B. South standing in his newly-constructed dome potato cellar, the first dome ever constructed using Monolithic’s patented construction process. April 1976. (Courtesy of the Monolithic Dome Institute)

On the left is Bud DuRussel, owner of the second monolithic dome constructed by Monolithic, in Manchester, Michigan – 1976.

On the left is Bud DuRussel, owner of the second monolithic dome constructed by Monolithic, in Manchester, Michigan – 1976. (David B. South)

Applying shotcrete to the second dome ever constructed using Monolithic’s patented construction process in Manchester, Michigan—1976.

Applying shotcrete to the second dome ever constructed using Monolithic’s patented construction process in Manchester, Michigan—1976. (David B. South)

Monolithic’s second dome, constructed in Michigan for Bud DuRussell—1976.

Monolithic’s second dome, constructed in Michigan for Bud DuRussell—1976. (David B. South)

A rainbow echoes the shape of the monolithic dome, built for David South’s mother, Marjorie, on the South Menan Butte in Idaho—1977

A rainbow echoes the shape of the monolithic dome, built for David South’s mother, Marjorie, on the South Menan Butte in Idaho—1977 (David B. South)

Framework for the geodesic dome storage building David South built in Shelley, Idaho, just prior to construction of Monolithic’s first concrete dome—1974.

Framework for the geodesic dome storage building David South built in Shelley, Idaho, just prior to construction of Monolithic’s first concrete dome—1974. (David B. South)

A 105-ft x 35-ft potato cellar built by Monolithic in Hamer, Idaho. (Late 1970s.)

A 105-ft x 35-ft potato cellar built by Monolithic in Hamer, Idaho. (Late 1970s.)

A net of cables with a diameter slightly smaller than the airformed-membrane’s diameter is spread over the outside of the membrane. This forces the fabric of the to pillow out between the cables, giving the Crenosphere its quilted or indented look.

A net of cables with a diameter slightly smaller than the airformed-membrane’s diameter is spread over the outside of the membrane. This forces the fabric of the to pillow out between the cables, giving the Crenosphere its quilted or indented look. (Rick Crandall)

The Monolithic Crenosphere — This computer-generated image illustrates a 434-foot diameter Monolithic Dome it can be either a Monolithic Megasphere or a small Crenosphere built with a full-size football field and bleacher-style seating. Many design options are available.

The Monolithic Crenosphere — This computer-generated image illustrates a 434-foot diameter Monolithic Dome it can be either a Monolithic Megasphere or a small Crenosphere built with a full-size football field and bleacher-style seating. Many design options are available. (Dave South)