Light weight, high strength, low maintenance dome building system for accommodation of every kind including: single dome homes, multi dome houses, tourist apartments, granny flats, dome storm shelters, dome survival shelters.
A graphical Guide by Dome experts Wolfgang Widmoser, architect and dome builder and Chris Brown, CEO of Domeshells, dome designer, researcher and dome builder. -- Most cost effective monolithic shell structure - dome home, dome apartment, storm shelter, survival shelter.
Architectural, Structural, Design/Build, Composites Engineering, Structural Engineering. Experience and expertise for any Dome Project.
We specialise in compound curved architecture and composite material systems to construct light weight energy efficient and sustainable buildings
In Praise of the Dome Structure
Dome houses are rare and so are other kinds of dome structures that may be part of a roof system such as a dome over a church or religious place of worship. In some locations domes have been built because of their ability to withstand extreme conditions , particularly wind and seismic loads. One of the oldest buildings in the world is a dome, the Pantheon in Rome is over 2000 years old and still in perfect condition. This magnificent dome structure has withstood all the ravages of invasions and sacking through time where all other buildings in Rome are in ruins.
Inherent Advantages of Domes
There are several advantages inherent in domed shape buildings. To begin with they are extremely efficient in use of materials. A dome building covers a floor area with approximately 30% less external surface area that a conventional building.
Structurally a dome is very much more efficient than conventional buildings because a dome shell structure distributes load evenly around the structure allowing it to accept significantly higher load scenarios that conventional rectangular buildings
Living in a Dome House
People who live in dome houses are almost entirely in agreement that they would never want to move back to a rectangular building. Interesting! Why is that?
From all our experience with dome buildings and dome homes and having visited several dome homes in various countries there are a few aspects which really stand out and some of these hit you as soon as you walk into the dome home.
Generally the first impression is one of space and light. Contrary to external appearances the interior of a dome is much larger that it looks from outside due to the 30% less surface area of the building. It plays an illusion.
Second impression is how absolutely comfortable it feels inside a dome shaped building. No corners, just smooth round walls and roof which feels very natural and nurturing to the human being.
Thirdly, furniture fits into a round space perfectly well. Pictures hang on the walls just the same way they do on a flat wall and actually the flow inside a round space also feels a lot more comfortable.
The Purest Sound Inside a Dome
If you study how sound waves move and interact inside of a space of any kind it will give you a good impression of how the space will feel to inhabit. For example inside of a hemispherical dome, sound is reflected from the dome shape back to the centre of the structure at the diameter.
What this means is that there is absolutely no phase cancellation or standing wave action inside a dome. The sound is pure in contrast to rectangular buildings which severely distort the purity of sound because of reflections off the walls.
Behaviour of sound in a dome shape illustrates very well how all the energy flow inside a dome feels.
In addition to orientation, Feng Shui in the design of a home or any other building deals primarily with energy and the flow of energy and how the building will FEEL to it’s occupants.
The best aspects of Fen Shui are inherent in a dome.
Ventilation in Domes
A common comment made by people who live in dome houses is that they do not have a mold problem. This is due to the superior ventilation inherent when a dome is ventilated through an opening in the apex which causes the most efficient and thorough ventilation of the space below. In contrast to a conventional building a dome draws air from around its circumference expelling through the apex.
Composite Materials for Dome Construction
Domeshells has been developing and building dome shaped structures since the year 2000 focusing on the use of composite materials and fabrication systems to build lightweight structures. Composite structural skins sandwiched over a light weight foam core creates relatively lightweight panels with excellent thermal insulation.
Seven years R&D in collaboration with QUT School of Engineering, Brisbane has given us the opportunity to develop various material systems which can be used to build domes using various mold systems.
In contrast to linear construction a dome geometry (the shape) must be formed by some means other than a straight line.
Compound Curves of the Dome Shape
Domeshells does NOT build geodesic domes which are created with triangular elements to form a dome shape with facets. Domeshells has always built completely compound curved surfaces using mostly hemispherical geometry. Our domes have smooth round surfaces
Compound curves means that the surface curves in all direction. It is not just a mono curve. Creating compound curved elements requires a mold system. A pattern is made of the shape and then the composite material is applied over that shape to form the dome or the elements or pieces of the dome which can be joined at a later stage.
Methods of Constructing Domes Using Composite Material Systems
GRC/Polyurethane Foam Core
Domeshells has developed a patented system of fabricating dome structures using an airform. An airform is a ballon fabricated in the shape of the dome which is fixed around the circumference of the slab or foundation and inflated.
Once inflated, the inside of the balloon is accessed through an airlock system and from inside the airform, the various composite materials are sprayed creating a monolithic shell structure.
This system utilised high strength polymer modified, glass fiber reinforced concrete structural coatings either side of a closed cell polyurethane foam core.
The Most Advanced and Hi-Tech Dome Building System
FRP (Glass and Resign/Foam Core) Aerospace Materials
More recently Domeshells has been utilising materials that are closer to aerospace materials than conventional building materials. Aerospace material systems are now cost competitive with other material systems in the construction industry. Laminate sandwich systems means that domes can be produced with extremely high performance characteristics in all respects.
The ‘DreamDome’ is Domeshells latest innovation in dome construction using almost exactly the same basic mold systems and techniques combined with the sophistication of production using resigns, glass fiber or carbon fibre.
Domeshells has completed a dome roof over a Mosque near Brisbane using this sandwich material system with great success. On going development including extensive structural design means that we are very close to our first residential prototype.
The ‘DreamDome’ is revolutionary. It is a totally prefabricated panel system that arrives on site and can be assembled in a couple of days by only a few people. The ‘DreamDome’ is a category 5 rated dome structure with excellent thermal properties.
The ‘DreamDome’ is shelter for the 21st Century when climate change and other events will make survival a huge issue for many of us on this planet.
The Most Advanced Low-Tech Dome Building System
Using these materials to build domes is very exciting because of its low cost and versatility. Extremely low cost in materials although high labour content makes this system ideal for many parts of the world and for people who have more time than money.
Using Bamboo Mesh and Render for dome construction produces very strong ‘monolithic shell structures’. Like a sea shell the dome has no seams and with continuous reinforcement together with the mesh and the bamboo the dome shell is capable of any load imposed provided the design is appropriate.
Common Uses for Dome Structures
A dome shaped building can be used for any purpose that a conventional structure is used for including:
- Tourist accommodation
- Mining accommodation
- Storage silos
- Survival shelters
- Storm shelters
- Emergency shelter
- Disaster reconstruction
- Extreme conditions shelter
Domeshells provides a complete D&C service for any dome project. We will advise the most appropriate system for a particular project.
Speak with us early in your project to save money and get the best system for your purpose.
Our collective experience spans several continents and dome projects from tiny back yard cabins all the way to massive FRP domes in the Middle East.
Our multi-disciplined team is uniquely experienced in design, production and engineering of shell structures and shell elements in GRC, FRP and “Hybrid Composites”……..
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