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.
But while news about EcoShells is plentiful, it is rare to get an up close look at families that have actually benefited from the construction of one of these buildings. Josh Smith of the Deseret News provided such insight recently when he traveled to Guaymas, Mexico where students from Southern Utah University were spending their spring break building three EcoShell homes for needy families.
Darryl Cunningham of Dome Technology, which donated the Airform for the project, said the building technology is extraordinary. “To take an untrained crew and build a nearly indestructible house in three days — you just can’t get that with traditional cinder block,” he said. “If you go into a disaster area, or poor area, and you build typical housing, you lose them all when the next disaster comes along. Domes are permanent housing.”
One of the EcoShells was for Daniel and Adela Mendoza, whose pressboard and cardboard shack was nearly destroyed during Hurricane Jimena last September. Another one was built for Armando Terriquez, who was overwhelmed by the gift of a new home. ”I never thought in all my life that I would receive such a gift,” he said through an interpreter.