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Liquefaction and Earthquakes

Semi-liquid soil will handle 200 pounds per square foot. The inverted, shallow dome-bowl and the sidewalks, attached around the perimeter, literally bring the soil-bearing need down to about 200 pounds per square foot. That’s a significant decrease of the average soil-bearing load of a house, which is 3,000 pounds per square foot.

We have a customer who wants to build a retirement home on one of the San Juan Islands in northwest Washington state. His land is subject to liquefaction during an earthquake. He asked us to help him design a building that would survive both earthquakes and liquefaction.

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.

Shake Table Test Shows the Dome Shape is Virtually Earthquake-Proof

During the 1990s, Charles Lin’s Monolithic Dome survived an earthquake unscathed.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia loaded 5.5 tons of sand bags on the top of a 24-foot diameter dome and subjected it to simulated earthquake conditions on their shake tables. Watch the video of the shake-table test and find out if the wood-framed dome survived.

Monolithic Domes in Alaska

Trinity Christian Center — This Monolithic Dome church in Soldotna, Alaska has a diameter of 80 feet and a height of 27 feet. In 1995, with its congregation of 100 standing in worship and singing, the church successfully endured a significant earthquake.

The number one advantage to building a Monolithic Dome in Alaska is a shaky one — earthquakes! “Alaska is in the highest earthquake zone,” Ansel said. “We have at least one, somewhere in Alaska — very often.” (Officially, Alaska averages 80 earthquakes a month.) “Monolithic Domes successfully survive those shakers.”

Podcast: Strengthening Churches

Monolithic Podcast

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

EcoShells Changing Lives in Mexico

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.

March 2010: Texas Company to hold Disaster Reconstruction Workshop

As relief organizations prepare to begin reconstruction efforts in Haiti and Chile, a Texas-based company is hosting a five-day workshop to teach attendees how to build the earthquake-resistant, concrete structures that have proven to be a viable solution for countries around the world.

Domes For The World: Rebuilding Haiti’s Orphanage Project Hope

Haiti’s devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010 claimed millions of victims. Some of the most destitute were parentless children living at an orphanage called Pwoje Espwa (Creole for Project Hope) in the Southern Region. Project Hope, which had been operating since 1998 by providing shelter, food, education and vocational training, was completely destroyed.

Monolithic Dome Benefits: Survivability

Whether it’s your home, your children’s school or some other structure that you and your loved ones spend time in, nothing beats knowing that you’re in a place that cannot be destroyed by most natural or manmade disasters. That’s the confidence Monolithic Domes offer. They meet or exceed FEMA’s standards for providing near-absolute protection. Monolithic Domes are proven survivors of tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and fires.

Could a dome survive an explosion?

Test dome

Monolithic Domes have been proven to withstand earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and even gun shots. But what about an explosion? Thanks to a test by South Industries, we know the answer.

Can a Monolithic Dome be built on permafrost?

Building on permafrost is tricky for any type of construction. The Monolithic Dome has some advantages. First it is much stronger than most buildings. And it is “Monolithic” or “one piece.” So if we can get it held up it will stay together through wind or weather or earthquakes. A few ways to make it work are listed.

January 2011- DFTW Helps Expand Haiti’s Largest Orphanage

One year after a powerful earthquake left thousands of Haitian children orphaned, the non-profit foundation Domes for the World (DFTW) has reached an agreement to double the size of Haiti’s largest orphanage. The project , which will be completed in partnership with the non-profit MODDHA, will include construction of 88 EcoShell domes that will serve as dormitory-style residences as well as communal dining and sanitation facilities. 

A Village Grows: Progress in New Ngelepen, Indonesia

EcoShell Clusters — DFTW trained native workers to build Monolithic EcoShell Domes. Constructed of concrete, reinforced with steel, EcoShells provide clean, low-energy use, fire-and disaster-resistant homes and public buildings. These dome-homes are arranged in clusters of 12.

New Ngelepen, Indonesian suffered a tsunami in December 2004 and an earthquake followed by a landslide in May 2006. As a result, some 6000 died, countless thousands were injured and 5 million were left homeless. In July 2006, following a request from WANGO, an international organization for global well-being, Domes For The World (DFTW) began directing the relocation and reconstruction of the original village of Ngelepen into its replacement: New Ngelepen.

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.

The Ideal Data Center: A Monolithic Dome

Shelters  — Shown here are two Tornado/Hurricane Shelters.  These are for storing bank buildings and emergency response equipment.  They could as well be housing data centers.

Companies need secure buildings – especially if they host computer systems and store data. Monolithic Domes make secure, solid, permanent facilities that can withstand tornadoes, earthquakes, wild temperature fluctuations and even rifle fire.

SUBE: Building Monolithic EcoShells in Peru

With little concern about hearing anything that might impact her life, in 2008 Lynda Eggimann, a real estate investor in Pocatello, Idaho, attended a real estate conference. But there she learned about Monolithic EcoShells and their ability to survive earthquakes. Lynda immediately thought about Peru, a country she knew well and visited frequently, that included loved ones, and that suffered from devastating earthquakes and poverty.

More about the Monolithic Dome School

Emmett High School — Located in Idaho, Emmett High School was the first Monolithic Dome school build.  This five-dome facility has 900 students who use two 180-foot diameter domes that house classrooms and a gymnasium. The three smaller domes function as woodworking, metal and auto shops.

Monolithic Domes are proven survivors of tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires and bullets. They meet or exceed all regional building codes and requirements. They also meet or exceed FEMA’s specifications for a structure to provide near-absolute protection against tornadoes and hurricanes.

Monolithic Dome Entertainment Centre Planned for Palm Springs, CA

Super Sound Stage 1

A one-of-a-kind, ultra-green Digital Studio and Entertainment Centre is planned for a five-acre site in Palm Springs, at Cathedral City, California. In this desert location, Monolithic Domes are the ideal “green” construction to oppose the severe desert conditions of extreme summer heat, the intense desert winds and earthquakes.

More About Monolithic Domes

Bruco — Bruco – the Italian name for caterpillar – is the Airform manufacturing plant of Monolithic Constructors, Inc. It was built using a single Airform that was shaped as seven interconnected domes.

Monolithic Domes have obvious qualities that become apparent to most people as soon as they learn about the materials and technology used in the dome’s construction. We invite you to review them all.

Monolithic Dome Bulk Storage

Lafarge Cement Plant — Located in Ontario, Canada, Lafarge’s storage dome can hold 40,000 tons.

All manner of products, goods or items can be safely maintained in a Monolithic Dome bulk storage: grains, fruits, vegetables, meats, coal, fertilizer, pesticides, etc.

Monolithic Dome Airplane Hangars and the Invention of the Hangar Door

Rendering of a small Monolithic Dome hangar with lateral door used for a private jet. Millions of dollars are spent on private jets and corporate air travel yet these planes are often stored in hangars incapable of protecting the planes during violent weather. A Monolithic Dome hangar is a tiny price to pay to protect a multi-million dollar investment.

Read the story of the invention of the revolutionary Monolithic Dome Airplane Hangar Door in David B. South’s latest President’s Sphere. Monolithic Dome Airplane Hangars are super energy efficient, tornado safe, firesafe and earthquake safe. They are also about as bulletproof as you can make a building. Included in his story, is a sketch of a Monolithic Dome Hangar for the F-35 Airplane.

Monolithic Dome Schools

Bishop Nevins Academy — Bishop Nevins Academy in Sarasota, Florida is the first Monolithic Dome School in the state of Florida.

What does a community need and want in a school structure? We think the number one answer to that question is Safety. A Monolithic Dome makes a school that can’t be beat for safety. It not only meets but exceeds FEMA’s requirements for a structure that provides near-absolute protection.

The Monolithic Dome

Cutaway — Schematic cutaway of the layers of the final Monolithic Dome.

Monolithic Domes are constructed following a method that requires a tough, inflatable Airform, steel-reinforced concrete and a polyurethane foam insulation. Each of these ingredients is used in a technologically specific way.

Potentially the Greenest of All Buildings

With hurricane season just around the corner, there’s a renewed focus on the Monolithic Dome’s ability to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s standards for near-absolute protection. Or as one blogger recently put it, people are interested in dome homes partly because they are the “most comfortable storm shelter you could ever live in.” But the article posted on the site,, went on to recount the many other advantages offered by these so-called ”super structures,” and there are many.

New sports dome completed in Taiwan

Dome entrance

Monolithic Domes are built around the world. This dome serves as a sports facility in Taiwan, as part of a larger sports complex. Located in the ‘Ring of Fire,’ this structure serves its purpose well.

Domes For The World Foundation Asks You to Help

Indonesian village of New Ngelepen — This village of 80 Domes brought new homes, clean water, a school, a masjiid and a medical clinic to 71 families.

The Domes For The World Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of people worldwide through the introduction and construction of Monolithic Domes and EcoShells for personal and public use. We will initiate and coordinate efforts to alleviate shortages of housing and community facilities in struggling cultures and impoverished lands.

Monolithic Dome Fact Sheet

Monolithic Dome is a round, steel-reinforced concrete building known for its energy efficiency, low maintenance, and ability to offer near absolute protection from natural disasters. While they have had a relatively low profile in the past, these unique buildings have slowly started gaining national prominence as school districts, churches, sports facilities and even home owners have opted for Monolithic Dome construction. Monolithic Dome homes have been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, the NBC Nightly News, MSNBC, CNBC, National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel.

The Monolithic EcoShell I

The Monolithic EcoShell I — The EcoShell I is a super-strong structure that can withstand hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fire, termites and rot.

An EcoShell I is a super-strong structure that can withstand hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fire, termites and rot that has different uses. In industrialized nations, particularly those with temperate or cold climates, such as the United States, Canada and Great Britain, uninsulated EcoShells make an ideal garage, small warehouse, grain storage, shed or workshop. But in the developing world, most of which has a tropical or equatorial climate, EcoShells can provide permanent, secure, easily maintained and – most importantly – affordable housing.

I’m Cuckoo For Coconuts

Coconut model of future project of Indonesian dome builder, Antonius “Yoss” Yusanto.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, but when in Indonesia, use coconuts to build scale models of dome projects! Albert Einstein purportedly said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” We agree and think this coconut model of a future project of Indonesian dome builder, Antonius “Yoss” Yusanto, is both creative and smart.

Academic Theses About Monolithic Domes

Here is a collection of thesis papers and research documents about Monolithic Domes, compiled by students and presented at various colleges and universities.

May 2007-DFTW Completes First Major Project: 71 Homes in Indonesia

Domes For The World (DFTW), a Salt Lake-City-based nonprofit foundation established in 2005 with a mission to improve the lives of people worldwide through the introduction and construction of Monolithic Domes and EcoShells, has completed its first major project: a village of 71 dome homes, six public lavatories, a mosque, a medical clinic and a kindergarten on the Island of Java in Indonesia.

Shipment to Haiti to Rebuild Orphanage

Goods and Employment — Andrew South and Derek South will travel to Haiti to train and supervise native workers in the construction of the EcoShells.

April 2011 promises to be an exciting, hope-filled month for donors to Domes For The World (DFTW). Andrew South, president of DFTW, said that that’s when a significant shipment will be leaving for Haiti.

Monolithic Dome Schools in America

The number of Monolithic Dome schools in America continues to grow. This map shows dome school locations in the U.S. City and/or school administrators often contact us after they actually see a Monolithic Dome school facility or learn about its benefits.

Monolithic Domes: The Most Disaster-Resistant Home?

Al Fin, who lives in the Cayman Islands, has been a blogger since 2005 - long before the blogosphere was as popular as it is today. His primary interest: seeing that the best of humanity survives long enough to reach the next level.

“Green” Blogger touts the benefits of the Monolithic Dome

In the Huffington post article titled, “Buildings, Energy, & Transportation Choices in Tourism: A Key to protecting coastal habitat and marine environments,” Dr. Reese Halter (broadcaster, biologist and author) touts the benefits of the Monolithic Dome in coastal regions. In the blog Dr. Halter expands on the “Blue Community Initiative,” 12 strategies for coastal habitat and marine environment protection for the tourism industry and the Monolithic Dome is a key component.

The Io-20

The Monolithic Io-20 — This dome has the innate ability to resist natural disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as fire, termites and rot.

This Monolithic Dome is an oblate built on a 3.5-foot stemwall. It has a diameter of 20 feet, an overall height of 10.5 feet and a living area of 314 square feet.

At Home in the Dome

David Smith first learned about Monolithic Dome construction 13 years ago, and has been a fan every since. In fact, he has been so impressed with the buildings that he started a dome-building business called Smith Family Dome Home Builders.

Dome Homes Land on Green Home Website

As the name implies, is a new web site dedicated to helping consumers choose low-cost, environmentally friendly homes. It features a variety of green building systems that are proven to save from 30 to 90 percent on heating and cooling bills. Not surprisingly, Monolithic Dome homes made the cut.

Carolina Dome Home Draws Crowds

The Cagle family had planned to build a traditional home along the Carolina coast before Hurricanes Bonnie and Fran slammed onshore. It wasn’t so much the severity of the storms that made the Cagles change their minds. It was actually the stringent new building codes that caused them to reconsider their construction choices.

Building Beautiful Luxury Domes

Dome of a Home — Mark and Valerie Sigler’s dome in Pensacola Beach, Florida was built after their conventional home was damaged twice by hurricanes.

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. 

February 2009 – Open House to Benefit Helping Hands of Yuma

One of most unusual homes in Yuma will once again be open for tours as part of a charity fundraiser. The Monolithic Dome home, known as Yumadome, will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 7th. Admission is $10 per person, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Helping Hands of Yuma.

How To Buy a Monolithic Dome School

When beginning the process to purchase a Monolithic Dome School follow these steps and heed these suggestions. Thirty years of building and designing Monolithic Schools has enabled a tried and true method of designing and building your next safe and energy efficient school building.