Can you turn an EcoShell into a Monolithic Dome?
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.
Three things happened: 1) We acquired a pile of expensive, but sometimes damaged and never the right size for the next project, Airforms that required storing; 2) Nobody wanted a used Airform; 3) We found that neither stucco, nor any other coating that replaced the Airform, could be trusted to keep the foam healthy. But we did learn that applying stucco over the Airform extended its life. So experience taught us to protect the foam by leaving the Airform over it and protecting the Airform with a coating, shingles, stucco or chain shell (2" of concrete embedded with chain link mesh).
Our last few stucco projects showed that stucco needs a protective coating of silicone. But don’t be discouraged by the need to protect. Consider the results: Monolithic Domes will last for centuries, they’re the greenest of buildings, they provide safety and are cost effective. So, please don’t peel the Airform. Chances are it will not save anything, and the risk, as we proved, is not worth it.