Building a home in a dome

Date: 2009-04-25

Building a home in a dome
The Salt Lake Tribune
Published April 25, 2009 11:00 am

An ingenious method for the construction of all-weather domes allows Lon and DeAnna Kennard and Hope Village Ethiopia to provide reasonably priced housing for orphans and runaways.

An inflatable dome is used as a mold to build a permanent structure that keeps the children cool in summer and warm in winter. The method was devised by a non-profit company based in Salt Lake City, Domes For the World, which donated two reusable domes to Hope Village.

The rubber half-sphere is inflated upon a foundation and cement pad. It is covered with a framework of rebar steel and chicken wire. Window and door frames are put in place. The dome is then covered in cement mixed on site. When the cement is dry, the inflatable dome is removed for reuse. The remaining cement dome is waterproofed with tar and painted white to reflect heat.

A crew can build the dome in about four days. The cost for such a structure 16 feet in diameter is about $2,000 and will house six people.

At Hope Village, five domes are clustered around a larger 30-foot dome. The central structure serves as a cafeteria and meeting place.

Eventually, the Kennards, friends and volunteers will build eight such clusters of domes that will provide housing for about 240 children.

- Christopher Smart


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