Foam Concrete is an ideal construction material for Dome houses.

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Dome house sample in Wellington NZ

Link to a dome house construction method

Proposal for a Dome construction method

The Dome shape is the “strongest” / resilient shape of all forms. The ideal dome shape transfers all forces placed upon it as a pressure force. When we build a house in this shape, we have to compromise on this of course by putting doors and windows in it. But, it is still a good starting point.

Below  are some photos of a Dome house in Wellington, New Zealand that was build in the 1970’s.  It is made from  “Ferro Cement”, but it illustrates the possibilities.

Some additional information

What the owners say about this property when they were selling it because they were downsizing.

Unique, coastal and low maintenance – you will feel a sense of encapsulation in this character 1970’s home. Even when Wellington blows her most impressive gales, you will be amazed by its ability to endure mother nature’s elements due to its genius aerodynamic shape.

The wall material is ferro-cement and naturally insulates in winter. Wait to you see how it manages to keep the house cool in the summer! You’ll save so much dollars on costly repairs – no roof, flashings, or gutters to worry about here. Easily painted inside and outside to give it a fresh look.
Approx. 110 m2 floor area

Photos and info published with permission from the present owner. Thank you Hailey and Steve.

An other way of building your dream Dome house is explained by

This method is not using FC, but it is a method you can use NOW!

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Photo suplied by Chris Brown DomeShells Australia

Information and photos from other Dome houses that are lived in are welcome, contact me

Proposal for a Dome construction method.

The dome in the picture below is a 3V dome and has 2 different size panels. The diameter is 6m.

Dome 3V section 2

If the weight of the panels is a problem that you can make the dome out of smaller ones of course, but you need a lot more.  The moulds for the panels need to be vary accurately made and preferably from metal. The positioning of the re-enforcing loops need to be very accurate and requires a tricky design of the mould. See drawing below

If the FC has a density of 1000Kg/m3 than the weight of each panel is 72 Kg. Thus a lifting device or 4 to 5 people needed to build the dome. You need 30 red and 75 Bleu panels for a full dome. You need 105 loops and bolts, but less of course if you put a door and windows in it.

The red domes make up the pentagon shape. The panels have an inward sloping edge of 6.9 degrees to fit the curve.  The panel thickness in this model is 100 mm, and the sides are 1210 and 2x 1237 mm long for the blue panels and 1045 and 2x 1210 for the red panels.

The panel is re-enforced with 6 mm steel looped wires that protrude where the cut-outs are. The ends are 6 mm higher at one end than the other. The panels are placed against each other, the length if the sides matching each other and the tapered bolts are inserted in the overlapping loops. The panels are pulled together by the tapered bolts. Theoretically there is no need for mortar between the panels, but in practice, a thin mortar slurry would be advisable.

The bolts can be tapered wood screws from the local hardware store. If you have an account with some of the suppliers you can get up to 90% discount on some of the hardware!

3 panel ass.JPG

This system will allow you to build the dome without any support structure for the panels; the re-enforcing is also to ensure that the structure does not collapse on people inside in an earthquake. You have to find out if this re-enforcing is enough for your local building requirements. The bolt holes need to be filled, and the outside need to be finished with a weather proof layer.

View of how the panels fit together

This dome building system is a theoretical proposal and I love to see someone putting it in practice. If you want help with the design, contact me.

Below is a concept drawing for a mould.

concept design for the FC mould and re-enforcing inserts