After receiving a Monolithic Dome School packet via snail mail, Marsha Norman, Superintendent of Beggs ISD in Beggs, Oklahoma gathered a few school board members and Architect Michael McCoy and headed to Italy, Texas to discuss building options with David South and tour nearby Monolithic Dome gymnasiums and homes.
Cradleboard Elementary in Whiteriver, Arizona is on an Apache Reservation, at 7000 feet in Arizona’s high country. In 1998, the community completed three Monolithic Domes with an interconnecting central corridor. Nestled among the Ponderosa Pines, this 34,000-square-foot facility has a multipurpose dome with a cafeteria, gymnasium, and an arts/music area. It’s flanked by two domes with classrooms for 300 students and 13 teachers in kindergarten through grade five.
Heber and Overgaard, two towns with a contingent boundary and a combined population of less than 2000, joined forces, creating one school district serving both their communities and the surrounding area. In January 1999, Heber-Overgaard opened their new school campus with its two Monolithic Domes, connected by a corridor with an inviting foyer accessing both domes.
The Emmett High School class of 1987, celebrating their ten-year class reunion this summer, will tell you that their final years of school were, to put it mildly, very uncomfortable. A necessary change came to Emmett in the form of Monolithic Domes.
Most of us have experienced it at least once — that wonderful feeling when something we’ve planned for a long time finally comes true. In March 2008, Sharon and Terry Smith enjoyed such a euphoria when they moved into Palo Pinto, their new Monolithic Dome home.
In the morning sunshine, approximately 500 students scrambled into the four new Monolithic Domes of Bishop Nevins Academy, a Catholic school in the Diocese of Venice in Sarasota, Florida. Most had seen the domes and even walked through them before. Nevertheless, excited shouts and ohs and ahs of wonder permeated the air. It was the first day of school — a school of unique round buildings.
Soft is not a word usually associated with concrete. Yet, soft, round and homey were just what administrators at Centro de la Familia de Utah, the coordinating agency for Utah’s Migrant Head Start Program, saw in Monolithic Domes, as they reviewed possible school designs for their new facility in Genola, Utah.
“We’re so big it takes two states to hold us!” So says the town of Texhoma. Now Texhoma has a new, pride worthy accomplishment: a beautiful Monolithic Dome facility for its 426 students, in grades five through 12. The campus features two Monolithic Domes, 108 feet and 66 feet in diameter, connected with conventional construction.
“All great projects start with a spouse!” That was Robin Miller’s reply when asked how and why he got interested in a Monolithic Dome home. He went on to explain that Kati, his wife, had lived in several coastal states but never in the middle of the country until they married and moved to Illinois. When Kati realized that tornadoes occur in Illinois, she insisted on building a disaster-resistant home. So the Millers began researching and found Monolithic Domes.
Most people really like what they see, hear and feel when they visit the recently completed St. Joseph Catholic Church in Commerce, Texas. And with its completion, the original church became the Parish Hall. “That was how we planned to do this right from the start,” Rev. George Monaghan said. “But that became one of our first challenges.” The pastor and his planning committee wondered what kind of a new structure would fit well with the old. They suspected that only something cornered and traditional would fit architecturally, but they wanted a structure that was energy-efficient, low maintenance, affordable and durable. Was that possible?
America’s schools, both privately and publicly owned, are finding innovative ways to finance construction, seeking structures that will keep students safe from most natural and manmade disasters, and desiring facilities that use a minimum of energy. Read their stories.
The night after our home addition was inflated, some of the neighbors thought a UFO had landed. A soft orange glow radiated from the elliptical bubble. It almost seemed alive. Sound like something from a science fiction movie? The foam and concrete dome has something to do with science, but there’s nothing fictional about it.
What do you get when you combine an enclosed heated pool and indoor agriculture system? An Agrithermosphere — a building used entirely for agricultural purposes. That’s what Gregg Swiderski built in Marengo, Illinois on his 100-acre farm.
A gallery of Monolithic Dome Studios.
Many churches are not the simple structures they used to be. Modern ones often include sophisticated audio/video equipment, nationwide radio and TV broadcasting, stages for drama productions, theme buildings, etc. Follow this link to stories about Monolithic Dome churches with such features.
Monolithic Dome sport facilities, ranging in size from school gymnasiums to super arenas, often are designed and constructed for more than one use. Many double as disaster shelters. Others include stage and auditorium accommodations. This link will lead you to their stories.
We have finally come to a breathing place, and can write of our “Birthing” of the dome. We finished the dome interior in six weeks! All cabinet work, floor coverings, sheet rock, and appliances are in and done. By doing the electrical, plumbing, and carpentry, I was able to save a great deal of money as well as frustration. We are moved in and have been living in the dome for the past four weeks.
Sviet Raikov, a native Russian, who attended a Monolithic Dome Workshop in 1994 and returned to Moscow with one of our Training Paks, reports the completion of a 36’ X 18’ dome home — the first of its kind in Russia!
Although they have toured nine domes, the Siglers would have liked to have experienced life in a dome before making the major investment of actually building one. Seeing the Eye of the Storm on Sullivan’s Island was the decision maker. “That home was proof that domes could be built beautifully,” said Valerie Sigler.
If you said Joe Gora is a man who loves his dome home, you would be right. After completing two Monolithic Dome Workshops, Joe designed and built Free Will, a 42′ × 18′ dome with 1585 square feet of living space, on a double lot in Marietta, Georgia. That process took 18 months and culminated with Joe celebrating Christmas 2000 in his new dome. Since then, his delight with Free Will has not waned an iota.
On a sunny morning in 1991, at a home site on Sullivans Island, South Carolina, George Paul, designer and builder of dome structures, anxiously watched an Airform inflating. Paul had watched many such inflations before — but never with this much anxiety.
In 1999, Kim and Robert Reynolds designed and built a Monolithic Dome dream-home, a 5/8th sphere with a diameter of 50 feet, a height of nearly 29 feet, two stories and 3500 square feet of living space. Shaded by more than 80 live oaks, the dome sits on five wooded acres among gently rolling hills, seven miles northwest of Bandera, Texas.
You’ve probably heard of a house of cards — one built by stacking playing cards to make a structure. But have you heard of a house built of credit cards? Figuratively speaking, the Gary E. Clark family of Ann Arbor, Michigan did just that. They built a house of credit cards — or, more accurately, financed with credit cards.
“Confusion isn’t necessarily bad,” said Bill Click, referring to the confusion of tax appraisers and insurance agents. Two years ago, Click and his wife moved into their Monolithic Dome home in Bandera, Texas, located about fifty miles west of San Antonio. “We have five acres of land,” Click said. "We’re on a hill and we have a great view.
Karen and Randy South and their seven sons and two daughters have liked their Monolithic Dome home since they first moved into it in 1996. After all, what was there not to like? Their nearly 4,000-square-foot dome home adorns a 1,260-acre butte that overlooks the beautiful Snake River in Menan, Idaho and provides them with a unique area for observing and enjoying wildlife.
It was love at first sight when Sylvia and Keith Wortman found their 10-acre plot in Fairplay, Colorado. At an elevation of 9,953 feet, the area had an intriguing history dating back to the 1850’s Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, spectacular scenery and natural beauty that included Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pines. Sylvia and Keith saw it as the perfect place for the Monolithic Dome dream home they had been envisioning and planning for many years.
Irie is Jamaican for alright. And Irie is the name owner Jerri Hudson chose for her new, 1000-square-foot Monolithic Dome home that sits on a 40-acre, wooded site in Missouri. Since moving in this past November, Jerri has found her new home both comfortable and secure — exactly what she wanted.
Helen and Pat Meylor call their Monolithic Dome home “Trinity Dome” because of their belief in the Holy Trinity and because it is a tri-dome structure.
Keeping up with the Joneses? That’s some challenge if you’re talking about matching what the Scott Jones Family of Colorado did in building their Monolithic Dome home. This Jones Family, Scott, Luann and their children Gregory, David, Melissa and Jeffrey, completed much of the work for their two-story, 46′ × 23′ dome as a do-it-yourself project.
Bob Warden may call it “Eagle’s Eye.” But his new Monolithic Dome home suggests a castle. It even has a tower that looks medieval and a balcony on which you can easily picture a princess awaiting her knight in shining armor. Eagle’s Eye sits among stately trees, on 46 acres of quiet forestland, undisturbed by the big city sounds of busy Cincinnati, 45 miles west of it.
Asked how their life changed with their move into a Monolithic Dome home, Ken and Nola Hanson — like the educators they are — quickly gave their favorite example.
A Monolithic Dome home, with a diameter of 55 feet, is owned by Lynn Cain and Mike Forsyth in Canada. It was designed by Mike Forsyth and built by Canadian Dome Industries in the fall of 2005. This dome incorporates the concepts of a passive solar house with a Monolithic Dome.
Comedian George Burns once quipped, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city,” and his audience probably laughed and nodded in agreement. But there’s a unique family of eleven adults in Yuma, Arizona, who — while they might laugh — would not agree. This group — related to one another either biologically, through marriage, or simply through friendship and a shared sense of values — all live at Yumadome.
Due Sorelle in the romantic language of Italy means Two Sisters. Thanks to Melinda and Sarah, two daughters of Monolithic’s President David South, we now have a Due Sorelle at our headquarters in Italy, Texas. It’s a 32-foot-diameter Monolithic Dome home, whose 804 square feet include two bedrooms, one bath, a living/dining area and a kitchen.
Can the innocuous armadillo inspire the building of a Monolithic Dome? I wondered about that when I drove to Clifton, Texas to interview Jim Gibbons and see his new dome home. After all, the armadillo is both Texan and the inhabitant of an impenetrable, dome-shaped shell. And, as I soon learned, those are qualities Jim admires.
So while some dome-purists might object to a compromise that disguises a dome, Cindy Sue and Daryl Cunningham of Menan, Idaho feel they have the best of both worlds: a Monolithic Dome, or what Darryl calls “the future of building,” and a classic Spanish Colonial home that would appeal to a huge number of modern Americans.
Theresa and Patrick O’Dell have always been interested in energy-efficient structures, but their interest peaked in 2000 when they saw an ad for Monolithic Domes in Mother Earth News. Patrick said, "Our last house was a conventional, 2000 square-foot home. It was all-electric and our utility bills averaged about $120 a month.
Southampton, Ontario Canada is famous for its beautiful sunsets. And now Rebecca and Sunny Cushnie share that fame because of their newly built Monolithic Dome home. An article describing this dream-home in the Toronto Star captured media attention and sent more than 400 visitors to the Cushnie home during Monolithic’s 2004 Dome Tour.
Romain Morgan was no stranger to tornadoes. She said, “I had been in a devastating tornado in 1957 in Kansas City, where our house exploded, and we were thrown around. I ended up under a refrigerator, holding one of my babies. So that’s why I decided on a Monolithic Dome and why my daughter and her family come here when there’s a tornado watch.”
In 1978, Monolithic’s president David B. South and Judy, his wife, built Cliffdome. The home is perched on the cliff of the South Menan Butte in Menan, Idaho overlooking the Snake River. Cliffdome was the largest Monolithic Dome home ever built at that time. It is 75-feet in diameter, 28 feet tall, two and a half levels, 8000 square feet of living space and 1500 square feet of attic space.
Can a Monolithic Dome home that is three stories high and that has a diameter of 55 feet just disappear? Almost — if it’s built on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan in Manitowoc, Wisconsin and if it’s painted a pale blue and if a fog creeps up that bluff. Barbara Stitt, who together with husband Paul own this dream-come-true Monolithic Dome home, said, “On a slightly foggy day, the house just about disappears, which is what we wanted.”
School officials in Fowler will find out in November whether they can move ahead with a Monolithic Dome building to serve as a new multi-purpose facility. Voters will decide on November 4th whether to approve a $1.94 million bond issue that would fund construction of a Monolithic Dome structure that would house a computer/technology lab, a new band/vocal room, a new gymnasium, two locker rooms, and a commons/concession area.
A rare and exceptional Monolithic Dome home sits on nearly an acre of land, close to Cherry Creek State Park in Centennial, Colorado. Nearly 50 mature trees shade the dome and provide privacy. Designed for energy-efficiency and durability by Chris Barnes, a former aeronautical engineer who worked with Howard Hughes, the dome was built in 1982.
— That’s what Erling and Barbara Rosholdt of Insight Developers near Charlottesville, Virginia claim it took to build their first Monolithic Dome, a 40-foot diameter, three bedroom, one bathroom home. Yet they don’t regret the experience. There are two reasons for that enthusiasm. Erling gives the first: "Our dome construction process took two years of weekends, holidays and vacations — more than 3,000 hours.
In 1992 when Harold Townsend, a firefighter with the Chicago Fire Department, vacationed in South Carolina, he had no idea he would find his dream home. But that’s just what happened. Sightseeing on Sullivan’s Island, Harold spotted the “Eye of the Storm,” a concrete dome that has survived several hurricanes virtually unscathed. By 2005, Harold had reviewed books, videos and information on this website and had attended two of our Conferences.
Can you put a squarish structure next to a Monolithic Dome? Can you place traditional next to futuristic? Won’t the combination look odd? Bill McLeod, an architecture graduate who studied under a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright, believes that integrating a Monolithic Dome with traditional shapes can aesthetically enhance its appeal.
Many Americans might think that a home with a living area of less than 2000 square feet just wouldn’t do for a family of six.
“Not so,” said Michael (Mike) South, Monolithic Vice President and Construction Superintendent. In October 2006, Mike, his wife Tessa and their four children moved into a Callisto with a diameter of 50 feet, a height of 16.5 feet and a living area of just 1964 square feet.
In Spanish, Charca means pond or puddle and Casa means house. Hence, the name Charca Casa or house by a pond. That acre pond functions as a spectacular backdrop for the spacious patio that fronts this fabulous Monolithic Dome home. A thirty-two-foot expanse of windows in the living room provides a view of the activities on the patio and the pond. Charca Casa is an attractive and interesting dome-home and is available for tours by appointment.
Time: A cool spring morning in 1979. Place: Eureka, Kansas, a rural community of about 2500 people in the heart of the Kansas Flint Hills. It’s known for its proximity to tornado-prone US 54, the yellow brick road. Event: The inflation of the Airform for the world’s second Monolithic Dome home built by David and Barry South.