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.
Visitors to Glenn Young’s Monolithic Dome home often have a problem finding his front door. And that’s surprising, since Glenn’s home is anything but small. It has 3000 square feet of living space within five, interconnected Monolithic Domes flanked by two EcoShells. Entrance tunnels lead into these EcoShells or foyers. A 15-foot-diameter EcoShell with a three-foot stem wall serves as a front foyer while a 12-foot-diameter EcoShell with a four-foot stem wall serves as the back one for this totally underground dome-home.
At first, some residents of Payson, Arizona were skeptical about the presence of Monolithic Dome school buildings in their community. But less than a year after two Monolithic Dome sites were completed, a new attitude prevailed. “Yes, it’s an unusual building,” said Sue Myers, “but teachers, parents and just about everyone who spends time inside these domes comes away with a positive impression.”
“Whoever built that ought to be shot!” So said Marilee Byrne the first time she saw a Monolithic Dome. Now, nearly twenty years later, Marilee often recalls that story as she welcomes visitors to her spacious dome home in Italy, Texas, designed by Larry Byrne, Marilee’s husband and MDI’s vice president of marketing and design. The interior of this Monolithic Dome dream home consists of 2660 square feet in three domes, with diameters of 30, 40 and 32 feet.
“Park University is a modern-day pioneer, exploring, expanding and extending its programs,” said Dr. Donald Breckon, president of this 120-year-old, unique college in Parkville, Missouri. Built among bluffs and wooded hills, Park University overlooks the Missouri River. That, in itself, is not unusual. But buildings constructed largely of limestone mined from below the campus is, and that’s just what Park College has at its home campus.
Why and how do two interconnected Monolithic Domes, one with a diameter of 60 feet and a height of 22 feet and the second measuring 50 feet by 16 feet, begin as a research project and develop into an earth-bermed, spacious, dream home and attached garage? Andrew South, vice-president of South Industries, Inc. and the happy owner of this Monolithic Dome home, said it all began nearly eight years ago.
At first glance, when you drive up to what you think is Al Schwarz’s Monolithic Dome home in Ferris, Texas, what you see is a door, sticking up inside a concrete arch, that’s covered with rocks and surrounded by more rocks. “Is that the entrance?” you wonder. Once through that door, you go down a slate staircase that spirals over an aquarium and down into the main dome with living, dining and kitchen areas. You are underground — literally standing inside a hill — but if you hadn’t gone through that door and down those stairs, you wouldn’t know it. It’s comfortably cool and light inside this dome that’s inside of a hill — like being inside any quiet, nicely lighted, restful, Monolithic Dome home.
“A very satisfying experiment!” That’s how Rick Crandall, MDI’s consulting architect, describes the construction of his new Monolithic Dome home in Lehi, Arizona, that he and wife Melody call Le Chateau de Lumiere or Castle of Light. Rick readily admits that between January 3, 2000 and January 3, 2001 he and Melody and their contractor Robert Johnson of Stetson Construction were not just building another Monolithic Dome home. “The purpose of this project was to do things that had not yet been done in other domes,” he said. “We had three goals — or areas of testing.”
Will your dream home be a star performer, an Energy Star performer, that is? It’s not a question many folks ask as they plot and plan a home. Cheryl Roberts, proud and happy owner of a Monolithic Dome home in La Junta, Colorado, didn’t. But then Cheryl learned that her qualification for a low-interest mortgage through CHAFA, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, depended on her Monolithic Dome’s E-Star rating.
Debbie and Tom Garlocks’ reasons for wanting this Monolithic Dome home were as unique as the residence itself. He wanted disaster resistance, sturdiness, self-sufficency, energy-efficiency and low maintenance. But she was attracted by its 3800 square feet of living space, its waterfall, greenhouse and hydroponic garden.
Vista Dhome, the luxurious Monolithic Dome dream home of Mrs. and Dr. Al Braswell, survives a devastating, California fire that wreaked $2.5 million in damages.
Soon, Oklahoma will have two more dome schools. Dibble Public Schools, near Norman, and Geronimo School District, outside of Lawton, both have new educational structures under construction.