Why build a concrete dome?

Load testing — Load testing a small thin-shell dome at the BYU laboratories.

The concrete dome is similar in shape and structure to an egg which has always been a fascination. The egg shows us that a relatively soft and weak material can be used to create a very strong structural shape. A simple demonstration illustrating the strength of an egg was made using a 2′ × 10′ wood plank, supported on one end by a rigid support and on the other end by one hard boiled egg. Four bags of Portland Cement were placed on the plank, at center span, one at a time, for a total of 376 pounds or 188 pounds on one egg. The shell did not crack! Such is the strength of some domes.

Epoxy Floors

Garage floor — A properly installed epoxy floor can beautify a garage and enhance the value of a house.

Epoxy coatings are a simple way to improve the appearance and maintenance of a garage floor.

Podcast: Strengthening Churches

Monolithic Podcast

Spacious and spectacular Monolithic Dome churches provide near absolute protection from fire, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes.

Southern Sudan Education Project

A Southern Sudan school — Typical primary school in Southern Sudan. Inside the mud huts children sit on dirt mounds and are not protected from termites and harsh weather.

On Friday, December 2, 2005, the Southern Sudan Education Project (SSEP) held a banquet and fundraiser at the Utah Multicultural Center in Salt Lake City. The keynote speaker for the event was Manute Bol— best known as the “Tallest man in the world.”

A Monolithic Dome Home with a WOW Factor

Monolithic Dome Home in Mohave Valley, Arizona — Built on a 10-foot stemwall that goes about 4 feet into the ground, this dome has a diameter of 60 feet, a height of 35 feet and three levels.

After retiring his position as an American Airlines’ flight dispatcher at DFW, Don Steelman enrolled in one of Monolithic’s hands-on Workshops. What he learned and did convinced him of the innate qualities of a Monolithic Dome home. Impressed by the dome’s longevity and energy efficiency, Don and wife decided to move to Mohave Valley, Arizona and build a Monolithic Dome home.

How do you like your pizza?

A Metaphor — A round pizza in a square box is a perfect metaphor for building domes in a square world.

Consider the ubiquitous pizza. How do you like yours? With extra pepperoni and mushrooms? With peppers and onions? With one topping or the works? Picked up piping hot from the pizza shop? Or from the grocer’s freezer and baked in your oven? Maybe you’re the adventurous soul who makes their own dough and cooks their own sauce. Do you value convenience or quality? The next time that pizza is on your dinner menu, what type will it be?

Patching Airforms

A Tear in an Airform — This is an example a patch being glued onto a tear in an Airform. Cut the patch and prepare the area.

When dealing with something as “delicate” as an Airform (Airforms are as tough as a boot but because of their weight they seem delicate), rips and holes will happen. The best way to deal with these problems is to be prepared for them. This article reviews a few of the things you can do to fix such problems.

We Know Domes – Hire Monolithic Today

Monolithic® Office – Italy, Texas

Being the coinventor of the dome and the founder of the Monolithic Dome Institute has given David B. South the opportunity to not only fine tune the building process, but to create a company whose main mission is to make available Monolithic Dome technology to all the world. It is the hope of Monolithic to educate the public about Monolithic Domes and to provide professional services to its customers by creating a successful partnership with them through all phases of their dome design, planning and construction.

What It Costs, Part 2

Choices — A curved-top front door may have looked better, but would have cost 5x more.

A cost index won’t tell you what your house will cost, but it does show you opportunities for upgrades and downgrades, and it does show trends.

Workshop Grad to Oversee Construction of Science Complex

A graduate of Monolithic’s five-day workshop is involved in an ambitious project to build a 6,000-square-foot Monolithic Dome science complex in Oregon. Ashleigh Wolf attended one of the Monolithic Dome Institute’s workshops along with a small team from the Department of Science and Engineering for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

A Perfect Match: Monolithic Dome & Recycling Facility

Rajan Ahluwalia — Greys Paper Recycling Industries Ltd.

Combine an eco-friendly recycling facility with the greenest of all buildings, and you have a perfect match. That’s what residents of Edmonton will have once construction is completed on a $10 million closed-loop recycling facility that will be housed in a Monolithic Dome.

What It Costs, Part 1

Build site — Flat, open land with easy access means the easiest construction.

Estimating the cost of a house is tricky because houses have so many parts. Industry averages aren’t a substitute for a specific estimate for a specific plan, but they help to show trends and tendencies.

Beam me up, Scottie

Starship Pegasus in its heyday

The Starship, a fully outfitted as a restaurant or fast food operation is available for sale or lease. It has a complete kitchen, a large open space dining and entertainment area, a large walk-in freezer, a security system, and serving and food preparation areas.

The MCLAD: Monolithic Contoured Laterally Moveable Access Door

Perfect fit — What was invented as a hangar door did not remain just a door for hangars. “As we continued to work with this idea, more uses and possibilities began occurring,” David said. “Because this door can be shaped and sized to fit a specific need, it will work well for shops, factories, garages, storage facilities — even huge stadiums and amphitheaters.”

“This is really dynamite! I’m amazed at how it is expanding. When I first started, I never even imagined the possibilities we’re now coming up with.” The speaker is a delighted David B. South, president of Monolithic and the “This” and “it” David is talking about is the Monolithic Door.

Monolithic Dome Arenas and Ice Rinks: Gorgeous and Affordable

Hockey Arena Rendering — Monolithic Dome arenas are a paradigm shift in modern arenas. They are much more affordable to buy and operate.

Built using cutting-edge technology, Monolithic Dome arenas are much more affordable to buy and operate than are conventional structures. They are multifunctional and can be designed for basketball, indoor soccer, arena football, volleyball tournaments, conventions, roller hockey, concerts and ice hockey.

Finding the Finish Line

Natural balance — Water, plants, and wood structures balance the hard dome

Allocate sufficient time and budget to finish the entire house before taking a break. The results are worth the extra effort.

Stemwalls: What Works Best

Integrated stemwall — For this dome, Monolithic designed the Airform to go straight up, reach the bottom of the second floor, then start to curve over the top. At the second level, an eave was installed that encircles the dome. Although not particularly hard to do, the eave gives the dome a vastly different appearance.

We often design a Monolithic Dome with a vertical stemwwall that goes straight up and acts as a base for the dome. Over the years, we’ve developed several ways of building stemwalls and have tried several options.

Just Chillin’

Chris Zweifel shows how an Airform and some cleverness make a one-of-a-kind winter dome.

The Current State of Solar

I’ve discussed solar electric with numerous clients over the years, so I figured it would be instructive to go through the process myself. Most of those clients considered solar in the context of living off-grid, totally separating themselves from the power company. In almost all cases it was prohibitively expensive because of the size of the solar arrays and storage needed to fulfill 100% of power needs.

Now Playing: The 21st Century Movie Theater

Proposed Movie Theatre

In an interview with Leland, I asked why Monolithic Domes provide the ideal architecture for movie theaters. Leland said, “Theaters should look unique. They always have. That’s tradition with theaters. Monolithic Domes are the perfect structure to provide a unique and interesting theater on the outside and the inside. People are attracted to the unusual.”

David South Discusses Hurricane Preparedness

Polk County, Florida is all too familiar with the devastation of hurricanes. Three major hurricanes hit the state in the span of two months in 2004, flooding the county with high winds and torrential rains. Five years later, some are wondering whether local residents have developed disaster amnesia. In a series of articles on the lessons learned from the hurricanes, the News Chief quotes experts who warn about the importance of preparedness. Among those quoted is the Monolithic Dome Institute’s own David South.

Groundbreaking on New Multipurpose Facility

Muscogee Creek Nation Multi-Purpose Facility

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation recently broke ground a 160-foot diameter Monolithic Dome multipurpose facility adjacent to an existing sports complex in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. The Muscogee Phoenix newspaper covered the groundbreaking of the $4 million facility, which is scheduled for completion in 2010.

Price, Utah: A Review of Its 20-Year-Old Monolithic Dome Complex

Public Works Complex — The Public Works Department of Price, Utah operates in a complex of Monolithic Domes built in 1982 and beautifully landscaped.

A uniqueness in Price, Utah is its four, interconnected Monolithic Domes, serving as its Public Works Complex since 1982. It consists of a three-story dome, 90′×40′, with administrative offices and three additional domes, each measuring 130′×43′, that house a Fire Station, a vehicle and equipment maintenance shop and a storage facility.

Buckling Analysis of Reinforced Concrete Domes—Excel Spreadsheet

Safe Harbor — The Elkins built this 4000 square foot, luxury reinforced concrete Monolithic Dome in Florida and named it Safe Harbor.

The first factor Kollar and Dulacska considers is that the materials of shells are elastic at most only up to a certain limit; after this they become plastic (“physical nonlinearity”). Due to the intricacy of shell-buckling problems, only a few attempts have been made to assess theoretically the effects of plastic behaviour. Hence, they use a simple approximate method that corrects the results of elastic stability theory by taking the effects of plastic behaviour of the material into account.

Dream Home in a Dome

Although no major hurricanes have hit the U.S. coast so far this year, states like Florida will be vulnerable to severe storms for the next several months. But there’s at least one Florida family that isn’t worried about what the next few months will bring, or for that matter, the next several decades.

Lone Star Northwest, Inc.

Cement Storage — The Lone Star Northwest, Inc. storage is located prominently in downtown Portland, Oregon. The Monolithic Dome is the ideal unit to contain the cement in an attractive storage that does not detract from the area.

Gary Madson, General Manager of Cement Operations for Lone Star Northwest, Inc., described their Monolithic Dome cement storage facility as, “a highly visible symbol for our company right in the heart of Portland.”

Equalizer, Inc.- Prepared for Mother Nature

Ammonium Nitrate and Diammonium Phosphate storage — Equalizer Inc.‘s twin Monolithic Domes, 130’ x 70’ each, at the Port of Victoria in Victoria, Texas

Since the fiercest hurricane on record to hit the U.S. blasted the Texas coast in 1900, Equalizer’s location certainly is in a hurricane zone. That hurricane-proneness was one of the main reasons Equalizer decided on Monolithic Domes for the storage of their two products: ammonium nitrate and diammonium phosphate.

A Classic Dome Project

Shotcrete Classics – Shotcrete Magazine Spring 2009 Feature

Chris Zynda is the current president of the American Shotcrete Association and a regular contributor to the organization’s quarterly publication, Shotcrete Magazine. In the Spring 2009 issue, he turned to his archive to select a project to feature in the “Shotcrete Classics” section of the magazine. His choice was White Memorial Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Los Angeles, a dome church with a 35,000-square foot sanctuary that seats 2,000, an adjoining chapel that seats 250, and a 10,000-square-foot classroom wing that connects the two buildings.

A Monolithic Dome’s Two Batteries

For a very long time we have known, planned around and used the thermal inertia of the Monolithic Dome. We call that thermal inertia the thermal battery. Why battery? Because significant savings in heating and cooling equipment can be achieved if you can trim the highs and lows by using the battery.

Three Easy Ways To Keep Your Home Comfortable

While they certainly are not a cure-all for skyrocketing utility expenses, there are three simple and easy but effective things you can do that should help keep your home comfortable and your costs down.

Risky Business: Hiring an Architect

While clients often see architects as a necessary evil, I don’t. The reality is that architects are necessary. But as in any profession, there are the good, the bad and the ugly, or architects who are talented, honest and reliable and their opposites.

Bruco – A Very Busy Caterpillar

Makeover — In Summer 2001, Bruco got a makeover and now has a multi-colored coat to complement his flirty eyes, smiley mouth and glow-in-the-dark cowboy boots.

With its flirty eyes, smiley mouth and cowboy boots that glow in the dark, Bruco, our manufacturing plant in Italy, Texas, looks nothing like a typical factory. But while Bruco might look like a playful, giant caterpillar on the outside, it’s serious work on the inside.

What is Green?

What does it mean to be “Green”? The original term was very simple, “the use of rapidly renewable resources.” If you read a magazine or watch a television commercial you would be lead to believe that everything made is “green,” but the truth be known that the true criteria is now very vague.

Technical Journal — Think Round

You Try It! — The strength of the Monolithic Dome is demonstrated by placing an egg horizontally in the palm of your hands and applying as much pressure as you possibly can. It is extremely diffcult to break.

Nobody knew the truck was coming. Massive tons of steel slammed into the house, threatening to destroy it and everyone inside. But the house stopped the truck. The only damage was a small six-inch hole in a bedroom wall. Someone said, “This truck should have destroyed the entire home.” A normal home perhaps. A home built of wood and plaster would have collapsed like a cardboard box. But this was a Monolithic Dome.

The Day Bruco Lost an Egg

One day, Bruco, our Italian Caterpillar — that really is the Monolithic Dome factory where we manufacture Airforms — lost an egg. Actually, losing this egg wasn’t so much Bruco’s fault as ours.

Concrete and Steel: Complementary Opposites

Like the opposing ends of a teeter-totter, concrete and steel – two main ingredients of a Monolithic Dome – complement and contradict each other, all at the same time. In a Monolithic Dome, concrete and steel complement each other by working together to give the dome its strength, durability and longevity.

School Business Affairs Magazine Features Monolithic Domes

School Business Affairs-June 2009

School Business Affairs, the only education magazine published specifically for school business management professionals, dedicated its June 2009 issue to the topic of risk management. It is fitting that one of the feature articles focuses on keeping students safe in Monolithic Dome schools.

The History of Thin-Shells and Monolithic Domes

Figure 3 — Hershey Arena Under Construction

In the history of thin-shell structures, four of the major influences are: Anton Tedesko (1903-1994), who is attributed with much of the success of thin-shell structures in the U.S; Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979), who in Italy gave structural integrity to the complex curves and geometry of reinforced-concrete structures such as the Orbetello aircraft hangar (begun 1938) and Turin’s exposition hall (1948-50); and the Spaniard Eduardo Torroja (1891-1961) and his pupil Felix Candela (1910-1997) who followed his lead. Essentially, each of the latter three attempted to create an umbrella roof the interior space of which could be subdivided as required, such as Torroja’s grandstand for the Zarzuela racetrack in Madrid (1935) (Archpedia.com, 9/7/05).

Metal Cladding For Domes: The Why And The How

Bruco — Metal cladding comes in a variety of colors and makes a durable, protective coating for a Monolithic Dome.

Why would someone want to cover a Monolithic Dome with metal cladding? David South, Monolithic’s president, says, “Metal cladding is an arrow in the quiver – a problem solver – that’s especially useful when things get really nasty.”

Radius of Curvature

Figure 1 — Comparison of Radii of Curvature showing small radius with high curvature vs large radius with low curvature.

The Radius of Curvature is a number that is used to determine the “flatness” of a dome. In essence, the radius of curvature tells us how curved a curve is. The larger the dome, the less curve, the flatter the concrete.

Will Lightning Affect a Dome?

According to the experts, when lightning strikes a Monolithic Dome the electricty will travel to the rebar and dissipate into the footing. Lightning rods are used in conventional homes to prevent the lightning from traveling through the highly resistive wood of the home and starting a fire. They are unnecessary in a Monolithic Dome. The structure is already grounded.

The Monolithic Dome: Not a Square Idea

Rising from the Texas horizon in a futuristic fashion are unusual looking white domes. Many a motorist has stopped on I-35E near Italy, Texas, for a closer look. What are these one-piece buildings that look much like a puffed marshmallow or an Arctic igloo? They are Monolithic Domes.

Vapor Drive

Water vapor molecules (or water in its gas form) try to evenly spread themselves. If one side of a room is full of water vapor molecules, the molecules will move to the other side until the room is evenly populated. In a room, this phenomenon is easily understood. It’s a little more complicated in the real world.

Earthquake Safety – It’s Yours In A Monolithic Dome!

In simple terms, a Monolithic Dome will keep you and your loved ones safe during an earthquake. The dome has no moment connections – those points at which a wall meets a roof or a floor attaches to a wall. An earthquake can and often does disconnect those moment connections. They just come apart. But a Monolithic Dome is more like an upside-down bowl, with zero connections to fatigue or disconnect. In general, an earthquake will put no more pressure on a dome than a good snow load.

Domes For The World Featured in Concrete International

When an earthquake struck Indonesia’s Island of Java in May 2006, some communities were harder hit than others. Ngelepen, for example, was devastated by a major landslide that wiped away every structure in town. But thanks to generous assistance from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) and Dubai-based Emaar Properties, the Domes For The World (DFTW) Foundation was able to rebuild the community by constructing safe and efficient Monolithic EcoShells.

Monolithic Dome Salt Storages

Salt Storage near Texoma, OK — Most salt storage structures are filled by pushing the salt into the building with a front-end loader. But if the buyer plans on pouring the salt into the dome through a top opening, Monolithic will construct the salt storage with an opening at the top. For the Airform, that will be the dome’s outer membrane, Monolithic suggests choosing a white or sandstone color. But other colors are also available.

Monolithic Domes make the best salt storages. They are solid concrete on the inside. Concrete handles salt damage far better than just about any other building material.