Wednesday
July 30, 2014

Dome Homes the Next Big Thing?

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Dome Homes the Next Big Thing?

Dome homes may become more popular in the future because of their reputation for holding up well against natural disasters.

Dome homes are reportedly strong enough to withstand the force of an EF5 tornado, a mammoth hurricane, and even a powerful earthquake. They are made of concrete and can deflect flying debris, such as trees and cars, and the roofs won’t blow off in a high-wind storm. 

"People feel safer in a dome," says Nanette South Clark, a design engineer with Monolithic Dome Institute. "Domes have a double curvature like an egg, so they're very strong. They're the buildings of the future."

Gary Clark, vice president of Monolithic sales and marketing, insists that dome homes are the “strongest disaster-preventative shape that can be built for the dollar.”

The company has been building dome homes for residential and commercial use, and it concentrates on natural disaster-prone areas in the U.S. Dome homes cost between $125 and $135 a square foot to build, or about $125,000 to $135,000. That's comparable to the average cost of a 1,000-square-foot home in Texas, according to Monolithic Dome. 

In 2012, the Federal Emergency Management Agency built dome shelters in Texas communities that had been hard-hit by tornadoes. 

Meteorologists are predicting more violent weather systems in the future, which may prompt more home owners worried about the safety of their homes to seek alternative structures that can withstand intense storms, dome advocates say. 

However, one hindrance to the dome home growing in popularity may come down to aesthetics. 

"Domes are very efficient and work well, but the majority of people don't like them. They don't fit people's preconceived notion of what a house should look like,” says Peter von Ahn, a South Carolina architect.

Dome homes have been nicknamed “ball houses,” “igloos,” and “bubbles.” 

Source: “Why your next home may look more like a snow globe,” CNBC (Dec. 29, 2013)

Read more:

U.S. Sees Record Low Natural-Disaster Activity in 2013
Natural Disaster Risk Tied to Mortgage Default
10 Unique Home Styles