James Laurence ‘Larry’ Byrne

Larry's Triton Dome Home.

Larry sitting in front of his home in Italy, Texas. Larry, and Marilee, designed this triple-dome structure called the Triton. As always, it was a prototype design that pushed the envelope and improved on the status quo in the industry.

Byrne Family / Submitted Media

James Laurence “Larry” Byrne (May 14, 1942–April 16, 2024) was an architectural designer best known for his pioneering design and consulting work in the Monolithic Dome industry. He was Vice President of Design at Monolithic, a design consultant with the Monolithic Dome Institute, and former secretary of the 334 Committee (Thin Shell Concrete) of the American Concrete Institute (ACI).

He designed houses, gymnasiums, churches, a wide range of storage projects, and more. He developed architectural design elements that became standard across the industry. Many or most of the floor plans in our floor plan catalog are Larry’s designs.

He assisted many engineers and architects in integrating the Monolithic Dome design mindset into their own plans and specifications. Larry was involved as the primary designer or consultant in over 1,000 projects.

Early Life

Larry Byrne.

Larry Byrne at work in the late 80s.

Byrne Family / Submitted Media

Born in Idaho in 1942, Larry was raised on the family’s cattle ranch and farm in Archer, Idaho, just a few miles from Rexburg. He grew up tending sheep and cattle and enjoyed showing off his steers at 4-H competitions.

While in high school, Larry started dating Marilee Munns and taking her to school dances. They found a shared love of dance and continued to find opportunities to shake their tailfeathers together after they were married in 1965.

Larry and Marilee both attended Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) and then went on to the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, where Larry graduated with a degree in engineering and architecture.

After graduation, Larry enlisted as an officer in the Air Force. He was assigned to the Civil Engineering unit at Forbes Air Force Base in Topeka, Kansas, where he was to prepare himself for joining his brothers fighting in Vietnam. However, when his orders came in, they were for Korea.

He was posted to Suwon Air Force Base, 6170th combat support squadron, Pacific area, where he became a Captain in 1970. At the conclusion of his four-year tour, he was offered a regular commission but decided to return to Idaho. He was anxious to be near his wife and their two children.

He worked on the family ranch, and by 1975, he and Marilee had four children: Mike, Kari, Matt and Stacey. The years went by quickly and happily, but not without struggle.

The Inside Story.

Larry and Marilee designed their home with an open concept floor plan.

Monolithic / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Monolithic Dome Design

In 1984, Larry decided to hang up his spurs and put his design degree to work. He was hired by David B. South to work at Monolithic Constructors, Inc., which was located in Idaho Falls, Idaho, at the time. It had only been eight years since the inflation of the first Monolithic Dome, and most domes at the time were industrial in nature. Larry had an opportunity to shape an industry.

He worked on projects as varied as the first Monolithic Dome high school in Emmett, Idaho, and aiding in the design of a robotic crane to move 600 semi-loads of apples into two massive atmosphere-controlled cold storage domes for the California Ammonia Company in Stockton, California.

Larry refrained from pursuing the architectural license he was qualified to obtain and instead worked to support the industry behind the scenes—often consulting with other architects and engineers to help them understand how the dome could work in their designs.

Larry and his family moved twice—from Idaho to California and then to Italy, Texas—in support of the industry.

From the very first Monolithic Dome Builders Workshop until he retired (22 years!), he was a beloved instructor who helped teach hundreds of students about the benefits and versatility of domes.

Retirement and Legacy

Larry retired after 32 years at Monolithic. He and Marilee immediately filed papers to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

They were called to serve in New Zealand and spent 18 months there scanning and cataloging family history documents while also finding time for a few adventures.

Larry loved to travel with his family, and they took trips to Egypt, Israel, Alaska, Mexico, Germany and more. He was devoted to his church and family. He was a wonderful husband, father, friend, co-worker, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

One of the first designers of Monolithic Domes, he is considered a founding father of the industry.