For more than a dozen years, Freda (Grones) Parker has been Monolithic Inc.’s head writer, reporter and historian. Most of the articles in the Roundup Magazine and Monolithic’s website were written by her, along with several of our books. This month, Freda celebrates two major milestones: her 10th wedding anniversary and her 75th birthday. In appreciation for all of her efforts on our behalf over the years, we wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to her many accomplishments.
The story of David B. South – a man whose foresight and determination led to the invention of the Monolithic Dome
- is perfectly summarized in the title of a new book about his life: Think Round: The Story of David B. South and the Monolithic Dome as told to Freda Parker.
Any sturdy building had to be declared a hurricane shelter in the Woodsboro, Texas area up until four years ago. At that time, two hurricane-proof Monolithic Dome gymnasiums, which could act as hurricane shelters for the community, were built in Woodsboro and Edna, reports J. R. Ortega in the story, Hurricane-proof domes could provide salvation for those in path of storm, in the Victoria Advocate.
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.
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.”
Monolithic Domes — those sturdy, most stationery of stationery structures — have entered a new realm — the realm of fantasy. Rick Crandall, Consulting Architect, says, “Monolithic Domes make perfect fantasy domes, and they are rapidly gaining popularity for fantasy environments such as those in theme parks, water parks, zoos, theaters, planetariums — even shopping malls.”
Petroleum coke, often called “petcoke,” is a byproduct of oil refineries. Monolithic Dome Petroleum Coke Storages are the best solution to the problem of storing petcoke out in the open in massive dust-pollution generating piles that is swiftly becoming an unacceptable solution to the American public. Read more in David B. South’s latest President’s Sphere.
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.
Asked how their life changed with their move into a Monolithic Dome home, Ken and Nola Hanson — like the educators they are — quickly gave their favorite example.
Keeping up with the Joneses? That’s some challenge if you’re talking about matching what the Scott Jones Family of Colorado did in building their Monolithic Dome home. This Jones Family, Scott, Luann and their children Gregory, David, Melissa and Jeffrey, completed much of the work for their two-story, 46′ × 23′ dome as a do-it-yourself project.
You’ve probably heard of a house of cards — one built by stacking playing cards to make a structure. But have you heard of a house built of credit cards? Figuratively speaking, the Gary E. Clark family of Ann Arbor, Michigan did just that. They built a house of credit cards — or, more accurately, financed with credit cards.
“Confusion isn’t necessarily bad,” said Bill Click, referring to the confusion of tax appraisers and insurance agents. Two years ago, Click and his wife moved into their Monolithic Dome home in Bandera, Texas, located about fifty miles west of San Antonio. “We have five acres of land,” Click said. "We’re on a hill and we have a great view.
On a sunny morning in 1991, at a home site on Sullivans Island, South Carolina, George Paul, designer and builder of dome structures, anxiously watched an Airform inflating. Paul had watched many such inflations before — but never with this much anxiety.
Sviet Raikov, a native Russian, who attended a Monolithic Dome Workshop in 1994 and returned to Moscow with one of our Training Paks, reports the completion of a 36’ X 18’ dome home — the first of its kind in Russia!
Cradleboard Elementary in Whiteriver, Arizona is on an Apache Reservation, at 7000 feet in Arizona’s high country. In 1998, the community completed three Monolithic Domes with an interconnecting central corridor. Nestled among the Ponderosa Pines, this 34,000-square-foot facility has a multipurpose dome with a cafeteria, gymnasium, and an arts/music area. It’s flanked by two domes with classrooms for 300 students and 13 teachers in kindergarten through grade five.
Heber and Overgaard, two towns with a contingent boundary and a combined population of less than 2000, joined forces, creating one school district serving both their communities and the surrounding area. In January 1999, Heber-Overgaard opened their new school campus with its two Monolithic Domes, connected by a corridor with an inviting foyer accessing both domes.
The atmosphere around Pattonsburg, Missouri virtually sings with the sounds of construction, excitement and anticipation. After five years of what School Superintendent Gene Walker described as, “more than our fair share of trials and tribulations,” this small, rural community watches the completion of its new school facility — four Monolithic Domes.
A Monolithic Dome that is semi-elliptical in shape, 143’ in diameter and 45’ in height will greet youths arriving for summer camp and adults attending retreats at the Thousand Oaks Retreat Center near Barry, Texas this summer. Established in 1995 by the DFW Church of Christ Jesus in Carrollton, Texas.
If you want to talk to happy, excited people, just call or visit Rock Port, Missouri. This mainly agricultural community, populated by only 1500 and located a short eight miles from the great Missouri River, recently completed a new, Monolithic Dome Technology Center for its school.
When the Native American community saw their need for not one, but two, new school facilities on its Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona, they got innovative. Superintendent Mark Sorenson explained, “We designed Tolchii Kooh to be like a district office, with Leupp and Little Singer as independent schools, subcontracted to Tolchii Kooh.”
If you visited the Morrisetts’ new Monolithic Dome home in Anchorage, Alaska and asked, “Is everybody happy?” you would probably get an enthusiastic “yes” from the three humans and an affirmative bark from their dog. The reason is simple: the Morrisetts — David, who is 42 and a computer programmer, April, who is 39 and an office manager for a vending machine company, Joshua, their almost-4-year-old son, and Chewbacca their dog— all love their new dome home.
Abundant Life Church in Denham Springs, Louisiana built a sanctuary with a Monolithic Dome atop a stemwall that is eighteen feet high and one foot thick. This main sanctuary has a diameter of 192 feet and encompasses 28,000 square feet, with a seating capacity for 2800 worshippers.
In 1992, Jimmie Keas, the Minister at Church of Christ in Salina, Kansas, and the congregation made a big decision. They began researching various building designs and came across information on Monolithic Domes, that immediately sparked their interest.
Since its opening in 1991, the two Monolithic Domes of City Bible Church have become somewhat of a landmark in Portland, Oregon. Art Johansen, facility administrator at City Bible, is very much in favor of that development.
After five years of continual use, most members of Pilgrims United Church of Christ in Fruitland Park, Florida are just as enthusiastic about their two Monolithic Domes as they were at that deciding meeting when eighty-four of the eighty-nine present voted for their construction.
I believe now is the time for Americans to rethink how we design and use our living areas. More specifically, I think we need small, easily and economically maintained dome-homes in which the same space is used for both day and night activities – in other words, a space twofer!
Hooray! They’re still cheering at Monolithic. Thanks to the cooperation and work of domers scattered across America and a healthy media response, this year’s Tour was a big success. Here’s what we’re hearing from our participants:
Chris Zweifel, now 41 and successfully operating ZZ Consulting, said that he always wanted to be an engineer. The question was what kind since engineering encompasses many branches. “I couldn’t make up my mind – had a hard time figuring it out,” Chris admits. Finally, about the time he began working on his bachelor’s degree, he decided on Civil Engineering.
For Nanette South, David B. South’s daughter, years of study and work have culminated in a thesis titled, “A Finite Element Analysis of the Monolithic Dome.” Its ten chapters, figures and tables discuss the history of thin-shell and Monolithic Domes, shell theory, finite element analysis, comparisons of shell theories and a buckling analysis.
Dr. Arnold Wilson doesn’t credit human ingenuity for the invention of a dome — he credits the egg. Wilson, who retired after completing a 40-year career as Civil Engineering Professor at Brigham Young University, says, “The egg has always fascinated me. You can see that it’s the shape and structure of the shell that gives it its strength. Much the same is true for a dome, and I think we borrowed from nature when we began building domes.”
In 2000, Catalytic Software, a global enterprise, began the construction of a massive, self-sustaining complex of domes, that would include attractive, safe areas for living, working and socializing. Located on 50 acres in Hyderabad, India’s hi-tech hub, this city of 4000 domes, mostly EcoShells, is called New Oroville.
Because of a request by a lady who wanted permanent flower beds that people confined in wheelchairs could garden, Monolithic developed a new way of making attractive, practical flower beds, using thin concrete and a material we’ve recently discovered and have been working with: basalt rebar. That led to a new way of making tough, long-lasting but good-looking fences. That process also uses spray-on concrete and basalt rebar. Learn all about both items in this delightful video, narrated by President David South.
“We were fortunate,” Steven Self, School Superintendent at Woodsboro, Texas said. “At the same time that we were doing the dome, we learned through Meridian Solar that we could apply for a solar grant with the State of Texas Comptroller.”
A new book about a dome pioneer!
It’s new! Here’s a must-have, must-read ebook with down-to-earth information on just about anything and everything that has to do with designing and building your dream home.
In 1844 when U.S. Army Captain John C. Fremont and Kit Carson established a rudimentary camp there, Fort Irwin was just a hot, sandy spot in the Mojave Desert. But it grew and grew. By 1979 Fort Irwin became the site of a military, world-class National Training Center. Located in California’s northern San Bernadino County, NTC now has a population of almost 9000. More recently, Fort Irwin has become home to the largest renewable energy project ever established by the Department of Defense (DOD) and Monolithic Domes are now a part of that project.
South Industries of Menan, Idaho is primarily known for its superior work in constructing Monolithic Domes. But in 2011, South Industries (SI) was hired to do a different kind of project. Signal Peak Energy, co-owned by FirstEnergy Corp. and Boich Companies, asked SI to stabilize a mountain wall.
Architect Rick Crandall’s Domes For Tomorrow II is an idea book of innovative, unique Monolithic Dome designs. It includes color photographs and/or drawings of Monolithic facilities designed as schools, churches, homes, gymnasiums, a theater, a shopping center, a nightclub, a planetarium, a yacht club, an apartment complex, a hotel, a theme park, a golf course, a library, a hospital, offices, a bakery, a detention facility, and aircraft hangars.
In 1983, in a History of Modern Architecture class at Harvard University graduate school, Architect Doug Stanton first heard about Wallace Neff’s air-formed, bubble domes. Since then Doug has been designing Monolithic Domes as homes, disaster-shelter additions and cabanas – each complemented with beautiful, practical landscaping.
Domes & Uses, both as an Ebook and as a printed text, has nine, information-packed sections that cover virtually everything related to Monolithic Domes. This book’s articles and data are supplemented with photographs, drawings, sketches and floor plans.
“Monolithic and MOR (Managed Organic Recycling) have been working steadily to create the best compost cover available, and this year we have created a product that has beat all the major competitors,” said Michael South, our vice president/director of operations.
David South, president of Monolithic Constructors, Inc., narrates this easy-to-understand, enjoyable, and informative video. In it, David describes the qualities of basalt rope and demonstrates the step-by-step process of using it when building a Monolithic EcoShell.
Voca, Texas is one of those towns that you might have missed if you blinked while driving through on State Highway 71. The 2010 census counted just 126 residents in Voca. But while it’s small, it’s not so easily missed these days. Voca now has three, new, very visible Monolithic Domes that Cadre, the largest single-line proppant plant in Texas, will use for storing frac-sand.
After more than twenty years of experience and with the completion of 100+ projects under his professional belt, Oklahoma-based Architect Michael McCoy encountered the Monolithic Dome. Was he surprised? Yes and No. Was he pleased? Yes.
For several years now, Frank Smith has been unsuccessfully struggling with politicians, city councils and business people, trying to get their approval to build drastically needed Monolithic Dome rentals in their communities. Those Texas communities include Corpus Christi, Ingleside and Aransas Pass. All are in a hurricane-prone area – the same hurricane-prone area that made Woodsboro ISD eligible for a FEMA grant.
During the past 30 years, Pat Rawlings of Dripping Springs, Texas (www.patrawlings.com) has done much of his artwork for NASA and aerospace clients around the world. But one of his more recent murals was done for Woodsboro ISD’s new, 20,000-square-foot, Monolithic Dome gym/auditorium/activity center that doubles as the community disaster shelter.
Monolithic’s president, David B. South, recently received an email from Dr. David W. Randle, Managing Director of the International Ocean Institute Waves of Change campaign. According to its website, the Waves of Change mission is “To empower and mobilize a broad range of stakeholders to protect the oceans and promote ocean sustainability." In his email, Dr. Randle wrote, “Thought you would enjoy these comments from a few students in my class this Semester. I think I told you that we are teaching the Monolithic Dome as a best practice in sustainable building construction. Thanks for the good work you and your Monolithic team do.”
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.
In 1834 a small settlement in northwest Indiana got its first log cabin. That settlement was Valparaiso, whose name was chosen because of its meaning: vale of paradise. One hundred sixty-nine years later, Valparaiso, now with a population of more than 27,000, got its first Monolithic Dome — a manufacturing facility built by Paul and Barbara Stitt, owners of Natural Ovens Bakery, headquartered in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.