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Monolithic Dome Houses: Monolithic Dome Institute

2/23/2009 3:50:13 PM

Tags: monolithic, dome, houses, research

Recently, one of our readers wrote in asking if we had ever written an article about monolithic dome houses. From my search, it turns out that we hadn’t covered these homes before, so I decided to dig further into the topic.

I found an unconventional structure for a home that is steadily becoming popular.

Simply put, a monolithic dome is similar in shape and size to a large mound or hill. Of course, this depends on the size of the home. Some homeowners, like Sviet Raikov in Russia, made their monolithic dome houses taller and rounder. Others, like this Colorado monolithic dome house, kept their buildings small, simple, and low to the ground.

MonolithicDomeHouse
This monolithic dome house in Pensacola Beach, Florida, made national news after it survived Hurricane Ivan. Photo courtesy of Monolithic Dome Institute.

Out of all of the buildings I encountered on the Monolithic Dome Institute website, this one is my favorite. The outside makes ample use of the curved structure with balconies, large windows and two garages tucked in either side of the stairs. Like many other monolithic dome houses, this house has circular shapes that repeat throughout the interior design. Many homeowners need to get creative when working with the unique angles that characterize the interior of a monolithic dome, and this one is no different: A bathtub sticks out from a wall in a manner that many of us would consider strange, but it fits the layout of the house incredibly well.  Plus, this home is a Hurricane Ivan survivor. The gorgeous view of the beach is simply an added bonus.

By reading about these, you’d think that there isn’t a single natural disaster these buildings can’t survive. People on the East Coast, West Coast or right down the middle in Tornado Alley can feel safe and protected in a monolithic dome.

The best thing about these unique structures is that they’re eco-friendly. Its shape means less surface area, which equals less area to heat or cool. When you do heat or cool your home, the dome’s concrete walls maintain a constant temperature longer and radiate it back into the building. David B. South, president of the Monolithic Dome Institut,e has claimed that a monolithic dome can pay for itself in 20 years based off of energy savings.

Of course, I’m a newbie to the subject. Have any of you encountered a monolithic dome, or are considering building one? I’m curious to hear what you think!



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