art, dome, house, spiral technology, ecotheatre, Shukhov, Fuller, Foster, land-art, public-art, HABITAT, O2 Sustainability Treehouse, Geodesic tree house, Dustin Fieder, glowing treehouse, eco-friendly treehouse, green treehouse, sustainable treehouse, UNESCO

воскресенье, 21 сентября 2008 г.

the womb-ellepute shell


1) Since the center section is not constructed in a torus, is it less expensive to build?
Actually, no. The dome curves in on itself again to make the tube, thereby increasing the surface area of the dome shell.

2) What is the usual size of a torus and have you ever built one? A common home size is 66 feet in diameter with a 32-foot diameter center section. It definitely can be much larger. So far, the torus has failed the cost test. A Monolithic Dome of equal size is about the same price.

3) What is the maximum height at the center of an oblate ellipsoid style dome? An oblate ellipsoid is an ideal shape for homes and one-story buildings. It brings the height of the dome down; but the walls at the base are more vertical so it provides more shoulder room. In general, an oblate ellipsoid should not have a minor-axis-to-major-axis ratio greater than 1.45. Consider a 32-foot diameter dome. The major axis is 16 feet. Divide 16 by 1.45 and the minor axis is 11 feet.

If we wanted the building to be two-stories high, we would put a 7-foot or 8-foot stemwall under the elliptical dome for a total height of 19 or 20 feet. The Oberon plan ("Dome Living: A Creative Guide for Planning Your Monolithic Dream Home", pp. 64-67) is an oblate ellipsoid, 32 feet in diameter and 12 feet tall. It makes a nice, one-story home with one, two, three or even four bedrooms.

4) The prolate looks as though it may have better interior feel and window options. Am I seeing this correctly? Sometimes a prolate fits the lot better. Rarely does it make the windows or shape better. Mostly, it may look better on paper; but in reality, you cannot see anything but a small part of it from the street or inside. There is very little benefit to the prolate, except for site considerations. Eye of the Storm has the long axis parallel with the beach; therefore more beach can be seen from the house. The house still looks circular from the beach. It also looks circular from within. It just has more exposure to the ocean because it is a prolate. The prolate costs more per square foot. It takes more material to enclose a smaller space than a traditional circular shape.

5) Are profiles other than the circular and elliptical available? Yes -- we can do cones, cylinders, parabolas, some hyperbolics, and some sculpted shapes. Air tends to blow round, therefore at least one dimension of the Airform must be round. The only limitations are that it must be inflatable and engineerable.

Dome Variations/ConfigurationsThe Eye of the Storm

By Freda Grones

On a sunny morning in 1991, at a home site on Sullivans Island, South Carolina, George Paul, designer and builder of dome structures, anxiously watched an Airform inflating. Paul had watched many such inflations before - but never with this much anxiety.

This Airform was for a permanent house for his parents, Huiet and Helen Paul, who lost their original summer home on that site to Hurricane Hugo in 1989. "That airframe had to hit its mark or the house would not be what I wanted," Paul said.

Unexpectedly, a neighbor woman who routinely walked that beach approached. She looked at the Airform; she looked at Paul, and, without breaking stride, snapped, "Do your parents know you are doing this?"

"They did know, of course." Paul said. "They were not my concern; the Airform was. But I need not have worried. The structure Monolithic Constructors built met every hope I dreamed of for myself and my parents."

That dream became Eye of the Storm, a prolate ellipse measuring 80' by 57' by 34'. Its four levels provide 3500 square feet of inside living space plus outside porches, and cost about $600,000 to build.

Since it's in a hurricane-prone area, Paul designed the Eye's ground level with eight huge openings - five of which are large enough to drive through. In bad weather, particularly a hurricane, storm surge rushes through the openings under the house, often leaving debris in its wake, but the main structure unharmed. Pilings sunk into the crust or solid part of the substrate also contribute sturdiness.

In addition to stability, the ground level provides parking and storage, has an elevator that goes to the second and third floors, and two stairways.

But its not just functional. It has its uniqueness: two shower rooms - one for the ladies and one for the gentlemen - built like sculpted shells or underwater coves. Their benches flow out of and along the walls and their showers become waterfalls, that feel and sound like real waterfalls, with the turn of a valve.

The second or main level includes living, dining, and entertaining areas; a kitchen; three full bathrooms; and two bedrooms, all with an ocean view and a generous porch. Paul said, "The building code required a 36" high safety railing on the porch. We learned we could build a bench, 18" high by 24" wide, instead, and it's become both seat and table."

A fireplace, invisibly incorporating bricks from the original house, adds its charm and uniqueness. "Facing the inside living area, it's a fireplace," Paul said. "Facing the outside porch, it's a barbecue, so it has one chimney but two flues."

The kitchen features an eating island and a work counter, built in opposite curves of Corian. The work counter has sink bowls molded right into it, making it seamless and easy to clean.

A white oak, hand-crafted stairway, following the slope of the interior wall, leads to the third level. It encompasses the master bedroom and bath, an entertainment area, a full kitchen, large closets and access to two porches.

Paul said, "The shower room in the master bath is built like a snail, in a winding fashion. That winding walk provides privacy so there is no need for shower doors or curtains which promote mildew." It also has resting benches and light sconces which appear sculpted or flowing from the walls.

The Eye's fourth floor is a hanging loft with a hide-a-bed sofa and an electrically operated, oval skylight that is six feet long and three feet wide. "Mom loves to relax and read up here," Paul said, "and the kids love to sleep up here. They like the height and the skylight."

On the outside, hurricane louvers can be closed over the windows within fifteen seconds-even in the worst weather, since the Eye has its own generator. These louvers provide security, insulation, and sunlight control, and can be rolled into a drum when not in use.

Visitors to the Eye of the Storm marvel at its uniqueness. "The levels hang from the shell. That's 250 tons hanging from the shell, and it's mind-boggling to most people," Paul said. "I tell them that you couldn't do that in a conventional building, but this one doesn't even care!"

Not only is this home unique, but Paul has discovered that ways in which people respond to the Eye are equally unique. He said, "I should have been collecting what folks say when they first enter this house - their first impressions. Women, especially, use terms that are never associated with structures. They say this home makes them 'feel embraced,' or that it's 'alive,' or that it's 'fun.' I think it's all of those."