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Driving down I-35 in Texas, between Waco and Dallas, there’s a curious site just off the interstate. It seems to be like an enormous, comical caterpillar rising up from the arid land, full with antennae and smiling eyes; its sides are decorated with frolicking, painted cowboy boots. The structure could simply be mistaken for an artwork installation or whimsical tourist lure, however the building is, in fact, a 14,000 sq. foot manufacturing facility.

The Monolithic Institute in Italy, Texas calls its caterpillar manufacturing facility Bruco, and it’s within his bowels that a curious selection of dwelling design begins to come back to life. Monolithic Domes are constructed from concrete ring foundations, strengthened with steel, and an inflated fabric Airform which creates the shape of the house - which is coated with polyurethane foam and a particular spray mix of concrete. The houses are energy efficient and highly durable, constructed to withstand tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires.

Here, just a few dome dwellers share snapshots of their near-indestructible dwellings - and their reasons for living with out edges and angles. Earlier than Matt and Jari Whiteacre bought married 30 years in the past, they’d all the time talked about the thought of residing in a dome - notably from the environmental and effectivity perspectives.

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However as their brood of 4 children grew, they’d another precedence: security. ‘Safety shortly grew to become a severe concern,’ says Matt, a professor at Texas A&M. ‘At that time in time, we had kids - so security from a hurricane, tornado. They began seriously researching their options and have been extremely impressed with Monolithic domes, each from a practical and aesthetic standpoint. ‘There’s just one thing about the aesthetics of a dome, that the more you take a look at them and work with them, the extra you assume they’re really type of a pleasant construction,’ he says.

They started critically working to assemble their dome in 2011, decided to maneuver from their ‘regular, small neighborhood house on a tiny, little-bitty postal-kind lot,’ Matt says. They purchased nearly two acres on the sting of town in College Station and set about planning their dream dome residence with the health of the Monolithic Dome Institute primarily based in Italy, Texas. Matt documented the process on a weblog and really succinctly summed up the unusual development procedures.

‘The course of, briefly, is to make it form of like you make papier mache balloons,’ he wrote. ‘You blow up a extremely massive balloon (well, a half balloon truly) and the cowl it with concrete. In follow, you’ll cowl the inside of the balloon (called an air kind) with a layer of insulation and then spray concrete inside of that.

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