Letter Re: Dome Homes as Survival Retreats by Rourke

I live in southern Louisiana. A guy that lives near me built a dome several months before Hurricane Andrew it is a wood framed [geodesic] dome, covered with shingles.He told me he had a very hard time finding some one who would agree to shingle it. That dome has held up to every hurricane to hit us since Andrew with only minor damage. – Mosby in Louisiana

JWR Replies: I much prefer monolithic domes over the more conventional Buckminster Fuller geodesic style wood frame domes. My brother was the owner/contractror of one of latter and he could never get the thing to seal out the rain properly. Shingling all of those little triangles is a nightmare.  Geodesic style wood frame domes have roughly the same lifespan as any other wood frame house. But a monolithic dome will probably last for generations.

All dome homes can take tremendous wind loading. This is because of Bernoulli’s principle. (The wind velocity–and pressure–is roughly the same on the front and the back of any round object.)