Why Design A Dome House
When it comes to unique building projects, there is hardly one that stands out in my mind more so than the dome. These strange structures might just seem like a bold form of self-expression on the part of the homeowner, but dome houses come with a multitude of benefits. These super-strong, efficient, affordable, and attention-demanding structures provide an excellent place for you and your family to share, so if you’re considering building a home, consider building a dome!
The structural engineers at PSE Consulting love dome houses for their character, sustainability, and strength. Over the years, we have helped tons of clients design their dream dome house and have picked up a few tips along the way. Here is everything you need to know about dome houses and dome house design.
Types of Domes
Dome structures are a fringe architectural style which often leads to every dome, regardless of specifics, to be looped in with the rest. While this innocent misconception is fine when it comes to admiring domes, it is the first and, therefore, most important consideration you need to make if you plan on designing your own.
The geodesic dome first hit the architectural scene in the first half of the 20th century when introduced by architect R. Buckminster Fuller. This style of dome is generally made from wood, although the material may differ. The structure as a whole is composed of many triangular-shaped facets that are joined to one another. Once joined together, the completed structure provides an unparalleled strength against outside forces.
One of the great things about geodesic domes is that you can purchase them in a kit that erases the need to calculate and cut many different angles. However, convenience comes at a price, and a geodesic dome kit will cost more than a similarly sized monolithic dome house.
As indicated by the name, monolithic domes appear to be a single seamless structure as opposed to the composition of many individual triangles seen in the geodesic style of dome building. While the material for a monolithic dome may vary, the most commonly used materials are concrete and aircrete.
Perhaps the most important benefit is how much more affordable a monolithic dome is than its geodesic counterpart. A monolithic dome will have a more fluid overall look and won’t have all of the sharp geometric shapes as seen with a geodesic dome. In addition to the substantially lower cost, monolithic domes are much more durable as there are no joints supporting the structure.
Aside from the obvious shape difference, dome house design is strikingly similar to any other custom home design. It helps to start by answering the broad stroke questions and narrowing your design down room by room. This ensures that nothing is overlooked and that the dome house you end up with is precisely the one you had in mind.
The first and most important thing to consider is the legality of building a dome on your desired property. Some zoning and code restrictions might prohibit the construction of domes, so we suggest checking the local zoning laws, so all of your hard design work isn’t for naught.
Once you have confirmed that you can build your dome, it’s time to get into the specifics of the design. This is when you should decide on the overall size of your dome house, the number of rooms, the number of stories, and any additional structural features you might want to include such as a balcony, fireplace, patio, etc.
With all of this in mind, you can make the final necessary decision in the design process, which is the material you will make your home from. If your house is a geodesic dome, you are more than likely going to be using wood. However, as mentioned above, other materials can be used and may provide a longer-lasting structure.
If your new house is a monolithic dome, then you have a decision to make regarding the outside material. Both concrete and aircrete are eco-friendly building materials, but they both have their advantages. While concrete is stronger on its own, aircrete is a much more affordable alternative. You can find all of the benefits and possibilities of building an aircrete home here.
Why A Dome is Right for Your Home
A dome house is a great way to express your creativity and stand out in a world full of cookie-cutter houses. Despite the stylish beauty of a dome home, they also offer many incredible benefits that traditional construction fails to deliver. When deciding to build a dome house, you’re making a life-changing decision that will change your perception of the world’s building practices. Once you see how affordably you can build your own super-efficient and durable house, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t been living in a dome your entire life.
Domes can be built to extravagant levels, but they don’t have to be. If you’re looking to develop an affordable and structurally sound dwelling, then a dome is the best option for you. They are far more durable than stick-framed homes of a comparable price, so you can end your new build with money left over.
Domes first made their appearance around 100 A.D. and have since proven to be one of the strongest architectural innovations to date. Some domes today have been around for centuries which seems impossible when we consider the lifespan of a modern stick-framed home. The unmatched durability of a dome house makes it an excellent choice for those harsh environments or those homeowners looking to get the most out of their money.
Dome House Design
PSE Consulting Engineers are longtime advocates for dome building, and we love helping our clients bring their dome houses to life. Contact us today for all of your dome house design and plan review needs, and be on your way to living in the dome of your dreams.