Monolithic Dome Homes in Context with the Course

As you can see from the article, the viewpoint of the writer (Kathleen Story who is a Green Building council member, environmentalist and sustainability activist) is from a real estate agent and not really a journalist. In our opinion though, we think it is absolutely fascinating how the same dome structure is being used on a sustainable and global level. This structure can withstand so many natural disasters (tornadoes, fire, wind, water damage, hurricanes etc) so it is adaptable to many different climates. Also, it is a relatively cheap structure to build so it is being used not only in countries such as the US and the UK, but also in third world countries such as Haiti and Indonesia that have been damaged from natural disasters. We think it could really become a phenomenal global trend (and its well on its way) to providing homes to those in disaster zones that otherwise do not have shelter to protect them. DFTW and One Dome At a Time are examples of institutions who are taking these sustainable disaster proof homes and giving back globally. The dome homes around the world are very similar to each other in appearance and perhaps themselves can be a “non-place” because they are found all over the world – From the US to Haiti to South Africa to Indonesia to Japan.

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Firms That Build Monolithic Domes

There are many firms that build all different sizes of monolithic dome homes. One of the most famous dome homes in the US was built by architect Jonathan Zimmerman and designer Robert Bisset (in the article it said the owner built it, but after doing more research he hired an architect and designer for it) and is located in Pensacola Beach, Florida. This dome was built because their previous home was destroyed by the 1995 hurricanes Erin and Opal and they wanted to have a home that could withstand the hurricanes that rock the coasts of Florida. Zimmerman has since passed away but Robert Bissett’s website is Build Art. Here is an article that talks about how this dome home was able to withstand the force of Hurricane Ivan:

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6011773/ns/weather-weather_news/t/dome-home-weathers-storm/

 

Another firm that builds monolithic dome homes is International Dome Homes Ltd. They build prefabricated 176 pound dome homes, and it is said that their polystyrene dome homes can be put together in about a week with the help or 3-4 people.

 

Natural Spaces Domes in Minnesota also build the monolithic dome homes and offer standard dome homes as well as customized dome homes. You can find a list of their floor plans here.

 

Dingley Dell Enterprises in the UK also builds dome homes not only in England but also in South Africa and India. Here is a link to their youtube video where they ask for your vote in a competition that if they win, they will provide 30 dome kits as well as the training and technological support needed to build these dome homes in the Zulu village in South Africa where the Project O children AIDS orphanage is located that was ravished by a tornado:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyNQwW6-RcU

 

Architect Nader Khalili of Cal-Earth also builds dome homes with the use of local materials and local help:

http://calearth.org/building-designs/eco-dome.html

Article Summary

Monolithic dome homes are sustainable and disaster safe structures that provide protection against tornados, hurricanes and fires.  While some can be very elaborate such as the dome home built in Pensocola Beach, Florida by Mark Sigler, others are very simple prefabricated dome shaped structures (usually around 400 sq. ft) built by non-profit organizations (such as Domes For the World) that can be located in countries such as Indonesia and Haiti to provide shelter for those who otherwise would not have protection against natural disasters such as hurricanes.

These Monolithic dome homes can withstand such natural disasters because of the dome shape which exerts both the same compression on the inside and the outside of the structure because of its arch shape. The dome shape allows heavy rain to flow right off the roof as well as letting strong wind swoop around it without blowing it over. In addition, the polyurethane coating of the structure and the use of cement protects against water damage and fire. Furthermore, because there are no joints or seams, this eliminates water creeping in and also lowers heating and cooling bills. Also, some monolithic dome homes are made out of polystyrene which means no cutting down of trees and no waste!