Monolithic Domes and EcoShells are making a difference in the lives of orphans in Nyamasaria, Kenya. The Owiti Children’s Home and Medical Center, operated by World Youth International, opened its doors in 2004 and became home to more than 50 children.
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.
When Rebecca South founded Domes for the World in 2005, she was building on the vision of her father, David B. South. He envisioned the construction of safe, low-cost dome homes for the poorest people on the planet. His vision has turned into reality as EcoShell domes have been built in countries like Indonesia, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Bolivia.
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.
Over the years, we have developed and done a lot of experimenting with our EcoShell 1 and our EcoShell 2. Today I want to continue the dialogue about the EcoShell 1.
With little concern about hearing anything that might impact her life, in 2008 Lynda Eggimann, a real estate investor in Pocatello, Idaho, attended a real estate conference. But there she learned about Monolithic EcoShells and their ability to survive earthquakes. Lynda immediately thought about Peru, a country she knew well and visited frequently, that included loved ones, and that suffered from devastating earthquakes and poverty.
The Next Big Future is a web site that reports on new technology and science that can “impact the future course of civilization.” It covers a variety of topics ranging from new university research to economic forecasts. A recent post focused on the home of the future
- the Monolithic Dome – and specifically on the EcoShells that are being constructed in developing countries around the world.
The obvious answer is yes. Can you make it cheaper? Not in our opinion. One such process suggests inflating an EcoShell II Airform, applying stucco, foam, rebar and concrete, then peeling off the Airform so it can be reused. In Monolithic’s very early days, we peeled off Airforms for reuse.
Using EcoShell I technology, our Vice President and Operations Director, Mike South, recently designed a dome-shaped gazebo that has a 20-foot diameter, is not only quick and easy to build, but is long-lasting, low maintenance and very versatile.
Since earthquakes struck Haiti and Chile earlier this year, interest in EcoShells has been at an an all-time high. Relief agencies from all over the world have been calling Monolithic to find out more about this unique type of building that has been proven to withstand earthquakes and hurricanes and yet can be built entirely by hand using local labor.
Check out this video describing the Monolithic Ecoshell and why it is the choice for housing in developing nations. They are strong structures that can withstand natural disasters, fire, termites and rot. In underdeveloped areas with hot climates, EcoShells make affordable, low maintenance, sturdy housing.
In the United States and other industrialized nations, an EcoShell II can serve the same purpose as an EcoShell I: It makes an ideal, durable and low maintenance garage, workshop, grain storage, small warehouse or shed. Nevertheless, some people feel that the EcoShell II is an improvement over EcoShell I, since its construction system allows Shotcrete to be applied to the interior of the Airform. This difference does not seem like much to some; others think it makes EcoShell II’s construction process more technologically sophisticated and therefore more appropriate for a nation with a developed economy.
An EcoShell I is a super-strong structure that can withstand hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fire, termites and rot that has different uses. In industrialized nations, particularly those with temperate or cold climates, such as the United States, Canada and Great Britain, uninsulated EcoShells make an ideal garage, small warehouse, grain storage, shed or workshop. But in the developing world, most of which has a tropical or equatorial climate, EcoShells can provide permanent, secure, easily maintained and – most importantly – affordable housing.
Here is a chart that compares the construction requirements of either an EcoShell I or an EcoShell II to that of a conventional concrete structure.
An EcoShell, like a Monolithic Dome, is built of reinforced concrete. But unlike that of a Monolithic Dome, the EcoShell’s Airform is removed and reused. Nor is an EcoShell usually sprayed with an insulating blanket of polyurethane foam. Obviously, an EcoShell and a Monolithic Dome are very different structures. Nevertheless we are often asked: Can EcoShells be coated with foam? The answer is a very cautious Yes because it’s not a smart solution.
At times, we have repented of teaching people how to build EcoShells. The EcoShell is the epitome of a thin shell concrete structure. It’s the best building, if you want a storage shed or ultra low-cost housing. An EcoShell can be built with few materials. Low production costs enable EcoShells to compete with metal buildings. Yet EcoShells have the advantage of being much stronger and longer lasting. But an EcoShell is not a substitute for a Monolithic Dome.