seize the dome

This blog has moved

Posted by mjsouth on April 21, 2009

I have moved my blog to the new Monolithic website.  Its now called the construction blog.


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Cabin Construction Journal Jan. 16th

Posted by mjsouth on January 16, 2009


Monolithic Cabin Being moved

We finished the concrete spraying yesterday.  We placed a propane heater inside the dome last night to help speed up the curing process, so that it would be liftable this morning.

First we set up a level area to the side where we could set the building.  We then placed some concrete blocks down to set it on.  The blocks are going to help keep the beams clean.  We rigged up the crane and started lifting.  The Monolithic Cabin came off the pad beautifully, and we were able to swing it around and set it on the pads.

Today we plan on painting the interior and starting to form the next dome.  Next week we will continue to do both the new floor, and the interior construction of the first cabin.

Click here to see more pictures

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Cabin Construction Journal Jan. 15th

Posted by mjsouth on January 15, 2009


Concrete Sprayed

One challenge of documenting a dome that Javier is building, is that you have to almost stay on site the whole time he moves so fast.  Not to mention on a smaller sized dome like the Monolithic Cabin.

We now have all the foam, rebar, and electrical done.  Javier is now spraying concrete.  He sprayed about an inch yesterday, and should finish the last inch to inch and a half today.

Once the cabin shell is complete, we can move it from the pad to another area to construct the interior walls.  Click here to see more pictures

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Cabin Construction Journal Jan. 13th

Posted by mjsouth on January 13, 2009

 Javier's crew placing rebar hangars
We got the airform inflated last night and the door bucks installed.  Javier has installed the door bucks, and is currently spraying the foam.  We expect to have some rebar hung by the end of the day.

Click here to check out the pictures on Flickr

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Monolithic Cabin Construction Journal

Posted by mjsouth on January 12, 2009


Picture of the Monolithic Cabin just inflated

We have started a new project here at the Monolithic Dome Institute. Monolithic Dome Cabins.

The Monolithic Cabin is a modified Monolithic Dome – like a tunnel with rounded ends. These domes all have a diameter (width) of 12 feet. The total length will depend on the model. The model number designates the total square footage. Thus the Model 150 is 14.3 feet in length. The model 201 (shown here) is 18.5 feet in length. The model 266 is 24 feet in length. All models will be nominal 10′ high from bottom of cross beams to top of roof.

These cabins are designed for many uses.  Primarily we expect to sell them for rental units, in our efforts to create more low cost housing that isn’t necessarily “cheap” houses.  These Cabins can be shipped anywhere, and setup in a few hours.

These cabins aren’t limited to just homes though.  We have been talking about using them for freezers, utility sheds, communication sheds, housing for pipeline workers, etc.

Javier Figueroa is the crew chief on the job, and he has been doing a great job.

I will be taking pictures throughout the construction of the first Monolithic Dome Cabin and putting them up on my Flickr account. So be sure to check them out.

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Video by Erika and Hannah

Posted by mjsouth on January 2, 2009

Two of my nieces made a video about Monolithic Domes while they were on Christmas Break.  They really did an awesome job.  Check it out.

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Reinforced Concrete Culverts

Posted by mjsouth on November 3, 2008


Little known to most, Monolithic also builds and uses airforms to make tunnels and bridges as well as culverts.  Because of a time crunch in our road construction here in Italy, Texas, we had to just throw in a galvanized culvert under the road.  When we were finished we had to concrete the ends so that semi’s, and other vehicles wouldn’t crush the ends of the pipe.

Concrete culverts are fairly common nowadays, but few of them are reinforced, and none of them hold a match to the ones that are sprayed in place.  The last project we did we were able to slide the airform tube inside the ends of the standard steel culvert and add on an extra 5 feet of reinforced concrete.  The ends being reinforced concrete help protect the culverts from being crushed by a wayward semi.

Monolithic Culverts are fairly simple.  First we pour a concrete bottom with rebar sticking up out of it to tie into the steel around the inflated airform.  Then the airform is placed inside the rebar and inflated.  Once inflated we then tie more rebar to the bars sticking out of the concrete to create a steel grid.  Once the rebar is in place we can spray it with about 2 to 3 inches of concrete, not the standard 3000 psi concrete that you commonly find in roads and driveways, but the 8000 psi concrete Monolithic uses in dome construction. Once the culvert is sprayed up the airform is removed.

Check out more images here.  For more information about Airformed Culverts go to Monolithic.com.

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Moving Pictures to Flikr

Posted by mjsouth on October 29, 2008

 FlickrI have decided to move all my images to Flikr.  They are not as easy to upload to as my .Mac gallery, but I think it will be a little bit faster to view for you all.   I am going to change the links from the previous articles to match the corresponding Flikr set.  To see an index of all the pictures I have added on for my blog, click here.

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Monolithic Stucco Goes Green

Posted by mjsouth on October 28, 2008

Javier Spraying Monolithic Stucco

We had an interesting project last month that I thought would be fun to share.  Monolithic has been developing a new way to coat the airform using a concrete stucco that we call “Monolithic Stucco”.

The Monolithic Stucco we use today is a heavy mix of concrete, MC-76 (a chemical used to make lots of stucco base materials), polystyrene beads and colorant if desired.  Here is a list of the steps we take to spray Monolithic Stucco:

  1. We first spray a coat of the Monoform Primer.  The Primer is sprayed with a standard airless paint sprayer.
  2. Then we start to mix the Monolithic Stucco using: concrete sand, cement, MC-76, polystyrene beads, and the green colorant.
  3. We then used our GHP 2500 to spray the stucco on the outside of the Monolithic Dome.

The polystyrene beads help keep the expansion and contraction of the concrete at bay, while a combination of the monolithic primer and the natural mechanical adhesion of concrete keep the stucco on the dome.

Coloring the concrete is optional and we have sprayed a lot of the domes with gray concrete and then coat them with Sil-Shield.

To see more pictures of the stucco process click here.

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St. Joseph Update

Posted by mjsouth on July 25, 2008

St Joseph Update

We are still working hard at the St. Joseph Church in Commerce, Texas.  I have posted more pictures to my gallery and welcome you to go and see them.

You will notice in some of the pictures the new vertical style rain gutter.  It not only looks great, but adds some protection from ice sheets sliding off the dome.

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