David B. South
Reprint from the 1998 Summer Roundup
David B. South,
President of the Monolithic Dome Institute
Feel Safe Safety is the single most important human need. We need
to be safe and feel safe. The Monolithic Dome provides the safest structure
that can be built at a reasonable price.
The second Monolithic Dome home we built was for Boyd Stewart in Severy,
Kansas. Boyd had seen one of our potato storage domes on the front of
a farmers magazine and decided that this would be a great home. Boyd called
me and I invited him to come to Idaho and visit the first Monolithic Dome
home we had built. It was for my mother. He came, he liked it, and wanted
Boyd said, "I am an aeronautical engineer and I realize that this is probably
the only home that can withstand a tornado."
He further said, "We live in tornado alley and I am sick and tired of
staying up at night watching the tornado boxes on the television - fearing
for my life. My wife and I have decided we want something that we can
go to sleep in and not worry about those things."
We built that home for the Stewart's. It was much more than safe. It gave
them peace of mind. The home as yet has not been hit by a tornado. But
they can go to bed each night and feel and know they will be safe.
Disasters As we see more and more natural disasters, the wisdom of
building the Monolithic Dome becomes more apparent. These structures give
us absolutely the most protection of any structure that can be built at
a reasonable price.
The worst tornadoes will bounce off the Monolithic Dome. It may take out
the windows, doors and tear up the surface, but the concrete structure
will still be there.
A hurricane means absolutely nothing to a Monolithic Dome. It is only
an inconvenience to the shell itself. Hurricane shutters are available
to cover the windows and mitigate losses from wind borne objects.
Earthquakes don't even bring a Monolithic Dome up to design loads.
Even beyond its actual safety is the feeling of safety. The feeling of
safety may be the best reason for building a Monolithic Dome.
You find yourself watching and enjoying the thunderstorms because you
are not afraid of them. You are inside your rock - safe and secure.
When I see a building constructed of wood, I think of a Boy Scout camp
fire. The Monolithic Dome is not going to burn, it doesn't have hidden
areas like attics to catch fire.
When interior framing is built with steel studs and sheet rock, the only
combustible materials in the Monolithic Dome are those things carried
in by the occupant. The peace of mind is very real for those living in
a fire safe home.
As Disaster Shelters The new Pattonsburg school (page 22) is going
to be a community tornado shelter. The superintendent says their tornado
drills are unique. "The students stay at their desks. No safer place exists."
Every school complex should have at least one Monolithic Dome to be the
safe shelter for the students and the community. It could be disguised
as the gymnasium or replacement for "temporary" modular classrooms.
In the past, it was not feasible to construct tornado resistant schools
because conventional methods cost too much. Since the Monolithic Dome
school costs less than conventional buildings it seems ridiculous to not
have at least one on every campus. What is more compelling is the fact
that the savings of energy costs will pay for the dome.
The Alternatives What if a hurricane is coming? The question is, "Will
you be safer in a Monolithic Dome riding out the hurricane or caught in
traffic jam trying to make a hasty evacuation?"
What about being buried by the ash from a volcano. The Monolithic Dome
will stand under the weight of the ash. All other buildings will collapse.
Popular movies suggest we should watch out for falling asteroids. Yet,
even a small meteor would either bounce off or punch a hole. It would
not collapse a Monolithic Dome. There is no amount of snow that will hurt
a Monolithic Dome.
Needed More and more Monolithic Domes are being built. The market
for them is ever expanding. It is still an embryonic industry. The fall
Monolithic Dome Training Workshops are September 8 through 12 and October
6 through 10, 1998. It takes a lot of grit to build Monolithic Domes.
The reward is great. The best builders are those with conventional experience,
but willing to learn new techniques. It is great to know you are making
"tomorrow's building available today."