International Dome Houses

by Christina Nellemann on February 15th, 2010. 30 Comments
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The Japanese know a thing or two about living in small spaces. Additionally, Japanese designers and architects also have to know a thing or two about how to design homes for a country with high land prices, strict building codes and numerous earthquakes. These futuristic prefab houses from the International Dome House Company are built from segmented slices made of expanded polystyrene that claim to be superior to wood, iron and concrete.

Japanese Dome House Website

The company is located in Japan, but the dome segments are made in their factory in South Korea. Several small “villages” of various sizes of the dome houses have been built in Japan, where the design has been approved by the Japanese Ministry of Land and Transport. This building system can also be adapted for small businesses, storage areas or bathhouses.

However, the website says that this type of construction is “semi-permanent”. I asked Dome House International what they meant by that statement and the company said that their product’s structural material, expanded polystyrene, lasts semi-permanently because it could be affected by UV light, chemicals or heat. The material is covered with a special coating that protects it from damage. The Dome Houses have not been experimented on, but Dome House International claims that they can last for 300 years. They also said that there has been several cases where expanded polystyrene has been used for decades, and when the buildings were renovated, the material had not been damaged at all.

The Dome House can be built by assembling separate dome pieces. Each dome piece weighs about 175 pounds. It will take three to four people about a week to complete a Dome House. The basic model is about 22 feet in diameter, but separate domes can be added together to make larger buildings. Since expanded polystyrene is made only from carbon and hydrogen, casting of expanded polystyrene is extremely clean. Construction of the Dome House does not produce any waste, nor does it involve any deforestation.

The Dome Houses have beautiful, simple interiors with lots of light. They have no corners, so each dome is open for interpretation and interior design. The Dome House is simple, since it is a prefabricated building with a small number of parts. Because the construction of the Dome House requires only minimal manpower and a very short period of time, it is possible to reduce the substantial amount of labor costs. Prices on the U.S. website will be available soon. However, the prices on the Japanese website for the basic dome are about 3 million yen or about $33,000, not including shipping. The prices and specifications for domes in other countries will be different.

Benefits of the International Dome House

  • Ultra-thermal insulating
  • Semi-permanent durability
  • Wind resistant
  • Earthquake resistant
  • Short assembly time
  • Low cost
  • Good for people with chemical sensitivities

By Christina Nellemann for the (Tiny House Blog)

30 Responses to “International Dome Houses”

  1. Antibubba says:

    Some of the criticisms of tiny houses on wheels could be resolved with an adapted International Dome House. The current plans are far too large to be mobile, but the challenges of insulation, structural integrity, wind resistance, and stability are resolved in this design, as well as weight and the aerodynamics of towing our houses to the next “neighborhood”.

    The current models are,at their smallest, over 25′ wide and 13′ high. We would need a width and length that would be trailer-legal.

  2. Bonnie says:

    My goodness, these are cute. They look to me like a cross between hobbit houses and a village on the moon. I would definitely live in one!

  3. Arlos says:

    They look like a direct lift from Outpost Alpha (Yahoo) created by George Berz in Fresno about 2005. He created a yahoo site but has not replied to posts there since. Here is a link.
    http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/lowenergysystems/tk1.pdf
    George like others had gotten his information from Monolithic Domes of Texas. To my knowledge, he had never actually built one and was looking for partners to build a community in texas.
    This is when the tiny house community began to show signs of life on the net. As far as International Domes being inovative, they are OK at copying because the design was done by George more than five years ago.
    The idea of living in expanded poly styrene has me thinking about the cancer developed in workers in factories where this is made and then again the CFC issue.

  4. Freth says:

    This concept looks very similar to the one that was produced by Domes International — which originated in Mississippi and had an overseas office in India. However, the Domes International website is no longer functional and only references are made to it on various other sites.

    http://www.export.gov/articles/successstories/eg_success_story_021027.asp

  5. Freth says:

    Here’s the World Discoveries link mentioning Domes International

    http://www.worlddiscoveries.com/domehomes.htm

  6. Freth says:

    Okay, I finally did the logical thing and called the phone number listed for Domes International … and got hold of”

    Composite Building Systems, Inc. (they changed the name)

    http://cbsstructures.com/

    • QUET says:

      Freth, Hello! I am wondering if this is the same product. The site you cite, http://cbsstructures.com/, says “Built like a giant ice cooler, the double composite fiberglass FRP shell sandwiches a core of urethane foam and a Space Age Thermal Barrier Foil insulation for a very high energy efficient dome.”

      From the article above, “the company said that their product’s structural material, expanded polystyrene, lasts semi-permanently because it could be affected by UV light, chemicals or heat. The material is covered with a special coating that protects it from damage… Since expanded polystyrene is made only from carbon and hydrogen, casting of expanded polystyrene is extremely clean. Construction of the Dome House does not produce any waste, nor does it involve any deforestation.”

      What do you think?

  7. Ed Bartley says:

    Not only are these homes cute – very hobbit like and fun – and I understand that they withstand hurricanes and other storms very well. The high winds just flows over them. I would think this type of building would work great in areas that are often hit by earthquakes and hurricanes and other disasters. I would think that an inexpensive version could be designed to help provide housing to the poor of the world.

  8. Nordica says:

    The photo of the living/dining with the loft, spiral staircase and divider wall, just kills me. So elegant and appealing. Curves + lines in the right places = looove

  9. Crystal says:

    Do you know how I can be a dealer or distributor for these kind of houses?

  10. Tom says:

    I am glad that I found this post. I am the type of person that loves to be inspired. Whether it be related to my business or home . This blog has some great posts and your posts inspire me to be productive and has given me ideas to move forward.

  11. Christina says:

    That is so nice to hear, Tom. Thank you very much and good luck with your dreams!

  12. tanya says:

    i saw a picture of a tiny house houseboat do they exist where can i find them and the plans?

  13. diana says:

    what is most inexpensive way to have model dome house of my choice shipped/built in the Philippines?

  14. Natalie says:

    Heloo firnedn smy name is natalie and i lovke this housee-dome

  15. Kaleigh says:

    HOW MUCH! why is this so hard to find prices. And where can these be built

    • @ Kaleigh – Go to http://www.monolithic.com and they can tell you pricing. The are usually 2/3 the price of a comparable 2×4 wood frame home, and MUCH more energy efficient. David South of Monolithic.com has designed a way to build dome homes, and has many plans to choose from. I’ve toured a number of their domes, and they are AMAZING! you can also find the page on Facebook under “Monolithic Domes”. Hope that helps.

  16. Sooling Loo says:

    I’ve got friends who are totally into the dome houses… Unfortunately do not have any idea going about contacting the manufacturers… Visited their website, they don’t provide landline nor mobile numbers… only e mail which would take them forever to reply… Can someone out there help?? Would appreciate very much…

  17. Randy says:

    how can i buy a japanese international dome house

  18. Mahnaz says:

    We are a company active in tourism industries. We are interested to study the possibility of to use your dome houses which looks quite attractive and practicle in our project.we need more informations about the assembling as well as other details which you think would be helpful to us.
    Sincerely yours

  19. signalfire says:

    For a self-built Thai version of this:

    http://www.steveareen.com/domehomecreation/index.html

  20. Mahnaz says:

    We are a company active in tourism industries. We are interested to study the possibility of to use your dome houses which looks quite attractive and practicle in our project.we need more informations about the assembling as well as other details which you think would be helpful to us.
    Sincerely yours

  21. Razor says:

    Semi Permanent ? Very few wood houses last 300 years being subject to rot and all kinds of other factors .

  22. Daniel says:

    You should check out these guys.. They that’ve a sweet structure as well
    http://Www.DomeEmpire.com

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