History and Philosophy
The Monolithic Dome was inspired by the Geodesic dome in the mid 1970’s by David B. South, president of the Monolithic Dome Institute (MDI), and brothers Barry and Randy South. Eventually, the South brothers developed a process of spraying in-place the Dome structure. The original construction method can accommodate a Domes up to 300 feet in diameter.
The first Monolithic Dome was built in 1976 in Shelley, Idaho, and the process received a patent in 1979. Since then, Monolithic Domes have been built in more than 45 states.
As larger Domes were eventually needed, the building method was refined further. In 1999, a patent was issued to David South for the Crenosphere, a Dome construction method capable of 300 to 1000 foot diameter structures. Considering that large Dome construction costs are substantially less than conventional construction, we are sure to see Domes become common place.
Why a dome? What makes it better?
In a word, it’s natural. A dome shape is certainly not new, appearing in nature since the beginning of time. A dome is, of course, an arch extending in all directions in a generally round pattern. Humans have used arches in architecture for centuries, and nature uses arches in many places. Both an arch and round structures distribute stresses exerted on thereby making the structure stronger, more resistant to those stresses.
Some examples of arches and domes are the arch of your foot, your skull, turtle shells, nut shells and eggs. Even and egg shells have great strength relative to the minimal amount of material in its thin construction. Eskimo igloos use the dome shape and other cultures have used dome and/or round construction styles for thousands of years for resistance to nature’s forces.
Combining the inherent strengths of a dome shape with monolithic fabrication and steel reinforce concrete gives us an unbeatable combination. Maybe now you are beginning to realize why so many people are interested in Monolithic Domes.