Dome Houses or Moonbase?

Dome Houses

Dome houses – practice for when we live on the moon

I’m a bit of a sucker for innovative design, especially when it comes to architecture. These dome houses, by the International Dome House Company, put me in mind of either the Hobbit or something NASA would knock out as a moonbase concept.

These dome houses are a very interesting idea… you buy polystyrene parts and put them together in whatever configuration you want. You can build a simple dome, add windows (a door would be handy), or add side sections to create a long building instead. The polystyrene acts as an insulator, meaning that the dome stays warm in winter and cool in summer. The fact that it won’t rot, rust, or attract termites are also billed as great selling points. My big worry would be that it would burst into flames at the slightest ignition source, but apparently it will only blacken without producing any toxic fumes. The material has also been treated with a fire retardant.

Should you want more than the standard designs, there’s the possibility to build two or more domes and connect them up. This is where we start to get into moonbase territory… have a dome for your living space, some for your bedrooms, games room, whatever, and connect them up in a network of discrete buildings. At least that should make it fairly easy if you want an extension.

The single dome has a diameter of 7.7m and a height of 3.85m – not quite tall enough for two floors, but certainly not feeling low. The promotional material mentions that you can have a loft in these buildings, which would be handy since it looks like there might not be too much storage space in them otherwise!

So, that’s the concept – what about the application? Well, these have been approved by the Japanese Land and Transport for home-building. I’m not sure what the official stance would be in the UK, but it’s hard to imagine this being approved over here (if anyone knows differently, please let me know!). I also have to say that, although the polystyrene is tougher than normal packing foam, I’d still be worried about someone putting a foot through it!

I really love this concept – the idea of an easy to build, easy to extend house that looks distinctive really catches my imagination. But, in practical terms, I’m afraid that’s as far as I could go. Perhaps I’m just not adventurous enough, but I can’t help thinking, “Great idea… but it’s not for me”.

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  1. Won’t they float away on our numerous flood plains?

    Very Tatooine though. Put one up and take on the sand people!

  2. Aldakila says:

    I want a Dome House! (as long as I remember to take shoes off)

    Geek-Speak does it again by highlighting “uber-geek” info & site

  3. At least they wouldn’t flood, though: they’d just float on top :)

    I didn’t notice the Tatooine style! I must be slipping.

  4. Domes don’t have to be so hideous looking. They can actually be designed so they are aesthetically pleasing instead of looking like Mr. Potato Heads with window attachments.

  5. Domes don’t have to be so hideous looking. They can actually be designed so they are aesthetically pleasing. Take a look at a couple of them that we have designed that were featured on HGTV’s Extreme Homes on our web sites and

  6. Italy, Texas (roughly 20 miles south of my house) is home to the Monolithic Dome Institute – you can find a number of these communities around the area.

  7. william peterson says:

    I love this design. I did engineering for 35 years. From an engineering viewpoint this idea is the best I’ve ever seen. Least wall surface for the volume contained (physics of spheres). Insulated by material and design. Take tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons and earthquakes better than any other shape. Light weight and easy to assembly. Bug resistant, rot resistant, rodent resistant. Long lasting without high maintenance effort. Tough part – tye it down well or else. Concrete slab poured integral into the construction assures it. Solar lighting by top central window. What people really don’t like about it….”Well, it surely doesn’t look like a traditional rotting, termite ridden, easily collapsable in earthquakes and winds home like I want to live in which uses up for display all the exotic woods of the planet to make the interior nice to look at”.

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