The Monolithic Dome Institute (MDI) advances the construction of the Monolithic Dome — a super insulated, steel reinforced, thin-shell concrete structure. Built worldwide for residential, commercial, and industrial uses the Monolithic Dome is beautiful, energy efficient, green, and strong.

Cutaway diagram of finished Monolithic Dome
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David, Barry and Randy South switched on the inflator fans to construct the first Monolithic Dome in April 1976. It was for a potato storage in Shelley, Idaho — 105-feet diameter by 35-feet tall, which was pretty ambitious for their first dome. It changed their lives. They patented the process and started changing the world, one dome at a time.

Today, there are Monolithic Domes throughout the United States and the world — from the Arctic to the tropics — used for schools, storages, churches, homes, gymnasiums, safe rooms and much more. There are domes as small as 8-feet to over 340-feet diameter with engineering for even larger structures. … read more

Pile cover storage dome calculator concept sketch

Normally we input diameter and height into a dome calculator and it returns the surface area, volume, and other useful measurements. For storage domes, it should also compute the storage capacity for a specific product. But what if we need it the other way around. If we know how much storage capacity we need, how big is the dome? That’s the question the pile cover storage calculator aims to find out. … read more

Sketch of concepts used in the vertical ellipsoid dome calculator

Inflatable shapes are the basic components of Monolithic Dome design. If it inflates, it can be constructed … probably. There are two primary shapes that dominate dome design — the sphere and half-ellipsoid. However, these are not the whole design palette. Sometimes we need to go beyond the basics. or in this case, beyond half of the ellipsoid. … read more

The Callisto.
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Monolithic Domes are amazing. The insulation, coupled with the concrete’s thermal mass, creates an atmosphere that is hard to describe. Simply put, it feels the same today as it does in the middle of summer. If you set the thermostat at 70 (21°C), it just stays there. During the two-degree, 24 hour period, my heater ran for a total of 9 hours. This is a small heater, with only 30,000 BTUs. Most homes the size of mine have 100,000 BTU heaters, but even my neighbors with electricity struggled to stay warm with heaters running nearly 24/7. … read more

Ellipsoid dome conceptual sketch

Circles and spheres are easy to measure. Calculating a spherical dome’s floor area, surface area, perimeter, and volume are straightforward mathematical formulas. When I wrote the new Spherical Dome Calculator, the challenge was the scaled drawing, not the computed values. Ellipsoids — on the other hand — are hard. … read more

Spring 2021 workshop is canceled due to coronavirus

We are a year into the pandemic and although the daily news is bad, we have every reason to hope. Two vaccines are approved and more are coming. With every person vaccinated we inch closer to a return to some form of normal life. Patience is required. We would love to start holding the Monolithic Dome Builders Workshop again, but it’s not yet time. For the sake of our customers and staff, the Spring 2021 Monolithic Dome Builders Workshop is canceled. … read more

"White Santorini" art suite
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In today’s Throwback Thursday we revisit the Ice Hotel — 200 km north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. This unique hotel is built and rebuilt every winter using ice, snow, and a lot of creativity. It’s a masterpiece of design and is an inspiration for curved architectural elements that could be built — permanently — in a Monolithic Dome. … read more

David and dome map
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We are sad to announce the passing of David Barney South Sr. — husband, father, entrepreneur, and inventor. David was married to the late Judy Lynne South (née Bates), and they raised nine children together. He co-invented the Monolithic Dome with his brothers, and they built a new construction industry. … read more

The hobbit house entrance to the underground Monolithic Dome house in Buffalo, Texas.
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The underground dome house in North Texas is getting a lot of attention. This completely hidden Monolithic Dome home is totally unique, absolutely private, and currently up for sale. In addition to real estate listings and coverage by local news websites, national news outlets like HouseBeautiful.com and Today.com have published stories about this unusual house. … read more

Spherical dome calculator conceptual sketch

Eighteen years ago, I wrote the first dome calculator for our website. I’d used the formulas before in spreadsheets, pattern programs, and even a script for the Palm Pilot. Writing the little program in the new web language of Javascript was fun. We still use it today, but it’s showing its age. The old calculator doesn’t work well on phones, and it has a dated, turn-of-the-millennium style. We have a new website; it is time for a new calculator. … read more