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prefab dome home

easy-to-build dome home
  (+3, -2)
(+3, -2)
  [vote for,

Recently I've become fascinated with houses. In fact, I've started to get the urge to build my own. But I don't want to build a boring old house; I want to build something solid and beautiful. And I've figured a dome is the ideal shape for a prefab, DIY job.

A dome is a great shape because it is strong, it uses the same materials for the walls and roof, and doesn't require a frame.

There are currently three ways of building a dome shaped home: geodesic domes, spraycrete domes and brick domes.

There are a few companies that build (or provide materials and designs for you to build) geodesic and spraycrete domes. These domes look OK, but don't have the robust aesthetic I'm after.

As far as I'm aware, brick domes are only built by professional dome builders. This makes sense, because if you don't build a brick dome correctly you're looking at a catastrophic collapse.

So I'm proposing a prefab, DIY, block 'dome home' construction which comprises features that will make it cheap, safe and easy to build.

The foundation
The site is leveled and a circular concrete foundation set. The foundation would need to be extra strong (and perhaps cambered slightly) to allow for the forces of dome bearing on it.

The blocks
The blocks are large preformed ceramic or concrete (weighing approx 20kg). They would be arc in plan and trapezoidal in cross-section. Each block would have alignment hump(s) on the top surface and recess(es) on the bottom surface so the blocks could be easily stacked together. The blocks would be stacked in ring layers, up to a keystone at the top. The blocks in each ring layer would be a slightly different shape so as to form a catenary shaped dome. The blocks would not need any mortar because the blocks would fit together tightly, although a water-proofing adhesive could be applied. Each block would be have markings to indicate its placement location. Lintels and the like would all be part of the prefab kit.

The preform structure
One of the main difficulties of building a dome is the structure to support the blocks before the keystone is set in place. Usually the preform structure is custom built for the job and then discarded once the dome is completed.

For a prefab home, the preform structure would be reused for each building (the builder just renting it out for a few weeks). The preform structure would be an easy-to-assemble (and disassemble) flat-pack design. The DIY kit could also come with reusable external scaffolding.

Once the dome is completed the interior walls, windows, doors etc. are installed. For added insulation, the dome could be covered with soil and seeded with grass.

xaviergisz, Dec 22 2009

Cusquenian Concrete Cusquenian_20Concrete
similar to this great idea [xaviergisz, Dec 22 2009]

Close. http://www.youtube....watch?v=vv3SII568v0
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Dec 22 2009]

Wooden Domes http://www.curvedbydesign.ca/Gallery.html
[afinehowdoyoudo, Dec 22 2009]

Shine Dome http://en.wikipedia..._The_Shine_Dome.jpg
this would be a brilliant design for a dome house [xaviergisz, Dec 23 2009]

New method of designing compression-only structures http://complexitys....rium-y%E2%80%99all/
[xaviergisz, Jan 11 2011]

The Dymaxion House http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Dymaxion_house
Baked in 1929 by Buckminster Fuller but dropped as a failed business plan. Way before its time. [RayfordSteele, Jan 13 2011]


       congratulations, you just invented the igloo.
FlyingToaster, Dec 22 2009

       Or the Yurt.
jutta, Dec 22 2009

       Don't forget the Dymaxion house.
DrWorm, Dec 22 2009

       Buckminster Fuller? Paolo Soleri has done some half domes & some cylindrical vaults in concrete up in the Arizona mountains that I quite liked. I didn't get the feeling that they were cheap & easy when I was there, though. Beautiful work on the concrete casting on one of the vaults, I think - well worth seeing. I dream of being able to retire in Arcosanti.
Zimmy, Dec 22 2009

       I'm missing something with using a form, I get how to make an arch and then I can see how you could make a second at 90 degrees to the first, but then what? Why don't you build it like an igloo where each ring level supports itself once finished. This is interesting though so (+).
MisterQED, Dec 22 2009

       I suspect all masonry arches / domes / vaults need forms until the morter is set or if no morter, at least the keystone.
Zimmy, Dec 22 2009

       Good point MisterQED. I assumed the preform structure would be necessary: a) especially around the door and window openings; and b) because the dome would be shallow/flattish (i.e. not high and pointy). However it may be possible to achieve this without the preform.
xaviergisz, Dec 22 2009

       soooo... Concrete legos?
Arcanus, Dec 22 2009


       super baked. The construction technique is usually called monolithic concrete construction.   

       inflate preform, spray poly urethane foam, set rebar, poor concrete. preform now becomes the skin.   

       A few famous buildings have been done like this, plus thousands of homes
metarinka, Dec 23 2009

       Hi metarinka, and welcome to HB. I mentioned that there are a few known methods of building dome homes (ok, I could have also mentioned poured concrete as well).   

       My idea is an easy-to-build *block* dome.
xaviergisz, Dec 23 2009

       // poor concrete //   

       Good quality concrete would be more durable ...
8th of 7, Dec 23 2009

       Domes made of wooden 'blocks' - linky
afinehowdoyoudo, Dec 24 2009

       wouldn't a parabola be optimum for vertical strength?
FlyingToaster, Dec 24 2009

       A derivative thought I just had related to this idea:   

       Cardboard blocks instead of concrete to make a dome would make a fun toy for kids.
xaviergisz, Feb 07 2010

       Or papier mache bricks for burning?
nineteenthly, Feb 07 2010

       You shouldn't need a preform if things interlock, and if the blocks can take a little tension for a while.   

       Incidentally, it would be uncool to build this as a series of rings. Far cooler to build it as a spiral.   

       Also, I don't like the idea that each block (or at least blocks in each ring) has to be a different shape - that's messy and inefficient. It is possible to build a dome out of uniform blocks.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 13 2010

       // The preform structure would be an easy-to-assemble (and disassemble) flat-pack design. //   

       Like a pre-fab wooden dome? And all its big and bulky parts.   

       As was said, build the dome in a spiral. Each block will have to be unique, but it should be self-supporting all the way up. Kinda like an igloo.   

       // wouldn't a parabola be optimum for vertical strength? //   

       No, a catenary arch is the ideal for compression. It is the catenary curve of a rope hanging from two points, turned upside-down. Pure tension becomes pure compression.
baconbrain, Jan 11 2011

       I agree the preform structure is unnecessary. It is interesting to note that the ancient civilizations invented domes before arches because domes won't require preforms structures whereas arches do.
xaviergisz, Jan 11 2011


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