Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
- Click here to see the construction of a new Eco-shell village in Indonesia as well as other dome related videos. (The New Ngelepen, Indonesia project included 77 houses, 6 MCK’s (bathroom, shower facilities), 6 wells, 6 septic systems, a church and roads).
- Read about the difference between Eco-shell I and II here.
Eco-shells are perfect for affordable housing projects and JC Tropical Homes Inc. builds an improved version of the Eco-shell designed by the company founder.
Friday, July 16, 2010
The enlightened minds who adapted the ancient dome shape from church cupolas into livable space:
- Wallace Neff (architect) is the originator of monolithic dome homes and the one who coined the word "airform" houses. Read here.
- Jonathan Zimmerman (architect). Read a .pdf file about domes here.
- Dr. Arnold Wilson (civil engineer). Read about his approach here.
- The South brothers (builders). USA Patent holders. Read their story here.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
To build a 4-wall house, you will need engineers, architects, contractors, masons, foreman, electricians, roofers, tilers, plumbers, carpenters, laborers, painters, interior decorators, truck drivers, Bank loan, insurers, appraisers, land surveyors, planning permission, etc.
If I tell you a better way to build houses exists, where you save money by eliminating one group of servicemen and one construction phase completely, will you consider it?
The better way is the monolithic dome – the sturdiest structure ever – in use since 1975 in USA. Built for cold, mild or hot climates, I brought a few changes to it and called it “tropical dome”, to meet Caribbean-specific harsh environment.
I can say that, with several improvements to design and materials taking place abroad and with my contribution too, modern domes are now at version #2, a departure from the old dome of 35 years ago, which was version #1.
One of the biggest advantages is that domes have no roof like the one you got used to.
You will no longer be required to clean, repair and replace the roof of your home.
No shingles, no roof-tiles of any kind, no galvanized sheets, no treated lumber, no eaves-troughs, no downspouts, no straps for heavy anchoring and … yes, no roofers are needed anymore.
Think for a moment: of all the components of a house, roofs seem to be the weakest link. Foundations, doors, windows and floors cannot be eliminated completely. With domes now, roofs are done away with forever.
We all know that many Caribbean homes have a small attic that is supposed to reduce the impact hot roofs have on the indoors but where mice, rats, small birds, wasps, termites, bats and their friends make their nest.
With tropical domes, no such unhealthy improvised areas exist. Tropical domes have a protected layer of insulating foam on the outside and a sturdy concrete ceiling inside, that’s all.
Rats with an appetite for chewing on electrical wires will look elsewhere for homes with attics, and you – as a dome homeowner – will have one less issue to worry about …
Even the exposed rafters are a poor solution paling in comparison with the tropical dome, which includes 7-9” thick polyurethane foam covered with a layer of reinforced concrete to fully stop the outdoors heat from propagating indoors. Such protection goes from the ground up to the very top of the building.
Did you notice that all houses with exposed rafters have taller walls than regular houses? This translates into more masonry with more labor costs, lengthier beams, more concrete blocks and … yes, more money being spent instead of saved.
What a waste! …
Don’t let this happen to you! …
With domes, the roof is one and the same with the walls, something that gives an unparalleled integrity to the entire structure: it all comes in one piece.
Dome walls are called shells.
Although designers, architects, civil engineers and roofers deadlocked in the past will desperately try to convince you otherwise, domes succeeded in doing what attics in 4-wall houses failed to do.
If you know of anything better than monolithic domes, please let me know!
A WORD ON SAVINGS
Extolling the benefits of roofless structures could make some persons believe monolithic domes are maintenance free.
They are not!
Everything in your possession requires care, whether a 4-wall house or dome.
Maintenance costs for dome tops are definitely less than costs associated with maintaining the roofs of regular 4-wall houses. Even if the costs were the same, the fact alone that your dome home has no roof to be replaced should be enough for the budget conscious homeowner to choose the dome.
I cannot guarantee you that in 20 years when you are going to spend time, money and energy to replace the worn-out roof of your home, you will be the same nice person, fully employed, healthy and happy as you are now when you are deciding which house to buy: the traditional 4-wall structure or the dome, but I can fully guarantee you that the decaying roof of your 4-wall home will get you into trouble at replacement day.
Do you really want that?