School entrance

The entrance to the school. (Javier Figueroa)

A dome transformation for one school

Monolithic Domes, just like any other building, need upkeep to stay in good condition. One place that needs attention is the exterior of the dome. Paint on the membrane can start to chip and wear off; repainting could be a large and timely endeavor. The solution: steel cladding.

Living Arts College in Raleigh, North Carolina is housed under three interconnected Monolithic Domes. Founded in 1992, the building needed an upgrade to the exterior. Steel cladding was chosen for the upgrade, which further protects the domes from wear and also gives a better look to the exterior.

The director of the college, Debra Hooper, stated the steel cladding was added mainly for aesthetics. A major reason for this upgrade, she stated, was to remove the need to repaint the domes. She described the makeover as “expensive but beautiful.”

This metal cladding prevents moisture from being trapped in the membrane. This is the long-term solution for the preservation of a Monolithic Dome. By doing this procedure, it can add more than 50 years of protection

Such steel cladding can come in various thicknesses, widths, and colors. This metal cladding is also flexible, which means it can be fitted over window and door framing. Applying the cladding is not a difficult process, but it does require special equipment. After it is completed, it only requires an occasional water spraying to remove dust.

That should be easy to maintain for Living Arts College. The school, formerly known as the School of Communication Arts, is a creative arts institution, offering degrees in filmmaking, game design, photography, audio design, interior design, and graphic design. The school is located on an 8 acre complex in North Carolina. Part of the complex houses studios for audio and video production and a photography studio.

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3 Monolithic Domes

A view of the three interconnected Monolithic Domes. (Mike South)

School aerial view

An aerial view of the school. (Mike South)

School overhead shot

The school from directly overhead. (Mike South)

Steel cladding close-up

A close-up of one of the domes, showing the steel cladding. (Mike South)

Old roof

The original roof, before the steel cladding was added. Back then the school was known as the School of Communication Arts. (Living Arts College)


A classroom inside the school. (Mike South)

School green screen

A green screen in one of the production rooms of the school. Notice the curved wall of the dome. (Mike South)

School library

The school library. (Mike South)

School photography studio

A photography studio in the school. (Mike South)