The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a bimonthly newsletter called the Construction Zone for professionals who work in the construction industry. In the September/October issue, the newsletter featured Monolithic Dome buildings.
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.
Monolithic Studios have the strength and durability of steel-reinforced concrete, insulated with polyurethane foam and blanketed with an Airform. It’s energy-efficient, easily maintained, disaster resistant, fire- and termite-proof.
I installed a RenewAire EV130 ERV that’s small, quiet and efficient in the attic of our home in about three hours.
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.
For 25 years, Home Energy magazine has been providing objective and practical information on residential energy efficiency and performance. Most of the magazine’s editorial content comes directly from the people researching and employing innovative design, building and remodeling practices and products.
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.
On September 1, Category 2 Hurricane Gustav blasted our southern coast, killing 138 people and causing an estimated $15 billion in damages. Just twelve days later, Category 2 Hurricane Ike, the third costliest U.S. hurricane and the most expensive in Texas history, killed 96 people and destroyed property to the tune of $27 billion. Monolithic Domes not only survive but protect….
Decorative Concrete of North Texas services include commercial and residential projects, such as flower walks, driveways, patios and sidewalks. “When you want to add an addition to your driveway or patio and you put new concrete down next to old concrete, it never matches up in color or looks the same," Todd said. "The beauty of this product is, we can do the new addition and top it with this product and it looks like it is all one pour, one piece of concrete.”
Building your own dome home means turning yourself into a do-it-yourselfer. Can you afford to do that? Most do-it-yourself projects make very little money per hour. Compare the earning ability of the do-it-yourself project with what you earn at your regular job, including overtime pay you may be able to earn. Can you afford to become a full-time or even a part-time do-it-yourselfer, or might it make better sense to earn as much as you can in your regular job and pay others to build your home?
When Mark and I decided to build a dome, we toured several domes and were extremely discouraged with the lack of aesthetic consideration given to the dome’s exterior and the unimaginative floor plans found inside. We were having second thoughts about building a dome – if we couldn’t build a beautiful dome, we would just keep the home we had. But after visiting the Eye of the Storm, Mark decided he could design a beautiful dome and enlisted the help of architect Jonathan Zimmerman and designer Robert Bissett. The trio’s collaboration on the Dome of a Home is proof that beautiful domes are possible.
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.
Dennis A. Quan currently works as Benefit Cost Analyst/Engineer with James Lee Witt Associates, the emergency preparedness and management experts of GlobalOptions Group. His past positions include Emergency Manager with the State of Florida, Division of Emergency Management and Hazard Mitigation Engineer/officer with FEMA. That experience has prompted Mr. Quan to complete a thought-provoking report about the strength and endurance of structures during natural disasters.
“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.
While Monolithic Domes are growing in number every day, they remain a novelty to most people. That’s why when two domes went up alongside the highway between Orlando and Tampa recently, curious passersby began to wonder just what was inside those buildings.
KDAF-TV, The 33, a television station in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, sent a news crew to the Monolithic Dome Institute to find out why dome buildings are considered so environmentally friendly.
“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.
We are often asked, “Why is the Monolithic Dome “Green?” As an answer to this question, we have outlined three of the most salient “green” points: Sustainability, energy efficiency, and use of green materials.
The EPA and the American Lung Association recommend that, in all cases, proper ventilation be present in the home, before purchasing an air cleaner of any kind. The experts all agree that the most effective way to reduce indoor pollution is to ventilate — remove polluted air and replace it with fresh, outdoor air. However, during the winter or summer, the cost of adequate ventilation almost equals heating and cooling the neighborhood — except with the RecoupAerator, Model 200 DX.
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.
Louisiana residents know all too well what a hurricane can do to traditional stick and brick homes.
On Thursday, September 4th, Al Schwarz’s earth-sheltered, Monolithic Dome home, called Robot Ranch and located in Ferris, Texas, will be featured on the new HGTV series Extreme Living.
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.
You will hear a lot more about our new Paxis Scaffold in the future on Monolithic.com, but in the meantime I will post some raw video clips. It’s hard to describe how nice this scaffold is, but with the new drive motors and the 10′ stance, this scaffold makes one of the sturdiest, safest platforms I have ever seen.
The new paxis scaffold was a huge success, even though there are a few things that we are going to do differently. The one thing that we didn’t expect, was that it was so heavy that it started to make some pretty substantial ruts in the ground. We have been toying around with a few different ideas. First, I think we will pour a concrete circle in the middle of the dome so that the pivot point and tires have a harder surface to rotate on. Secondly, I think we will try to find some wider tires for the outside wheels, and change the way the motor is mounted so we have more ground clearance.
Problem: Scaffold an 88 foot dome that has only 4 36″ standard doors?
Solution: Expand our already proven Polar Scaffold to fit that size of a dome.
Through the years of dome building we have always been playing a guessing game when it comes to reinforcement. So we finally found a way to find out once in for all, what is happening in these domes?