Domes – Monolithic
The main material costs are relatively inexpensive and sometimes even free when found on site. This combined with doing it yourself makes it very affordable.
Easy To Build
The techniques can be taught fairly easily to helpers. The structure goes up quickly with everyone pitching in.
Do It Yourself
You can do the work yourself with guidance from an experienced craftsman. Friends and family can pitch in to get it done quickly.
Benefits, Costs, and Environmental Impact
Monolithic dome homes are cost efficient and quick to build. They are one of the most Earth friendly and sustainable structures you can build. They are built of concrete and rebar and do not use wood, so they don’t destroy our forests. The main opening can be made of glass and oriented towards the sun for solar heating with almost no other heat source needed. The North side can be buried to keep it a constant 50-60 (f) degrees.
Eco friendly Polymer concretes can be used rather than Portland Cement concrete. Portland Cement is a big polluter and contributes 7% of the Total CO2 into released into the atmosphere. Basalt (lava rock) rebar can use used rather than steel rebar for reinforcing. Steel is another big polluter which contributes 7% of the Total CO2 into into the atmosphere.
The igloo may be the earliest form of monolithic dome. While it is constructed of blocks of compressed snow, these blocks melt and re-freeze to form a strong, homogeneous structure. The dome-like shape of the igloo exhibits the two major advantages of a dome-shaped structure: great strength, and good insulation. The strength is due to the natural strength of the arch, and the insulation is due to the minimal surface area of a spherical section.
The first modern monolithic dome structure was built in Provo, Utah and opened in 1963 as an ice skating rink. Called Ream’s Turtle after its 1967 conversion into a general store by new owner Paul Ream, the building stood until it was demolished in 2006 for new construction.
Today, monolithic domes are used in a variety of residential, commercial and industrial projects. Because of the strength, durability and economics, they are used to store large amounts of various commodities in the cement, fertilizer, agricultural, power and mining industries.