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  • Writer's picturejc delosreyes

A case for Dome or Monolithic houses in the Philippines

It was in 2013 that I decided to build my brick dome house. With the help of Architect Gino Go. We came up with a design that primarily addressed interior lighting and a covered entrance or porch. The apertures were the trickiest when you are designing or building the simplest geometric shape - a dome, a sphere or egg-shaped structure.

It is in taking into consideration the things we are so used to in a typical squarish house that complicates matters. The western idea or bias of what a typical home looks like we needed to disabuse from our minds.

Gino came up with a design that solved my issues, a covered outdoor space where one can relax and a covered entrance big enough you don't get wet from the rain or where you can leave your outdoor things. This meant, designing the structure half-spherical-half cylindrical. I called it the dome-arch.

It was perfect to me but it was harder to do than the typical round house that can be done by simply laying bricks going around, upward until you close the dome on top. This method needed no column, no beam and simply relied on ancient geometric functions of the arch - a dome is simply multiple arches.

And so, we did it. One brick at a time. Since then, I have built 10 monolithic domes all over the country. They have different designs. Monolithic means just one material all through out. In effect your roof is your wall.

What are the advantages of monolithic dome structures?

They are affordable and fast to build. Almost no maintenance as clay-bricks are resistant to termites and to the salts near the sea. Meaning you can build it in the forests, jungles, up in the mountains or beside the beach.

They are typhoon resistant. The dome shape is very efficient in handling strong wind loads.

They are extremely energy efficient. Domes promote more efficient air circulation and keep temperatures even throughout the structure.

They are very strong. Domes are formed by an interconnection of multiple arches. And the arch is a structure that could take on loads at the top.

Dome construction is slowly being noticed all over the world especially in the U.S., in the hurricane prone states. Perhaps, little by little, the methodology and design in building these will eventually be accepted in the country.

In line with our passion to build more of these types of homes, Legobuilders has developed a brick that is curved in shape and interlocks thru male-female channels.It is an exclusive brick for dome designs. The domes this could build is from 18 sq.m circumferences to 100 sq.m ones. Join us as we explore the viability of building more of these structures.

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