If your dream home still takes on the shape of a mushroom or a Hobbit house, maybe one of these dome homes by Curved by Design will fit your bill. Curved By Design, Inc. is based in British Columbia, Canada and they design and build small garden or backyard domes, cottages and guest houses for recreational and tourist properties.
Their smallest design is the Garden/Backyard Dome which is approximately 12 feet in diameter, provides 100 square feet of floor space and can be built on a small stem wall to provide additional height. The advantage of this size dome is that it falls under building permit requirements and yet provides a spacious and calm ambience. Curved by Design also features two small designs: the 24 Foot Open Plan dome which is ideal as a relaxing yoga studio, a spacious conference room, or a guest house and the 24 Foot One Bedroom dome which can accomodate one spacious bedroom, a full bath and kitchen, a cozy living room and plenty of storage.
Curved by Design uses prefabricated wood panels in their designs. These panels have been created in a controlled environment with a high degree of quality, repeatability and consistency so they allow for fast and efficient on-site set-up and assembly that requires minimal labor. In fact, a typical structure can be assembled on site and ready for siding and shingle application in less than a week. The company also uses natural and renewable wood materials in the manufacturing of the curved panels, most notably the use of two-foot mill trim ends that continue to be considered as industry “wood waste”. They are categorized in this way due to the fact that the construction industry does not use shorter lengths of wood. Short pieces of solid wood (typically spruce, fir and pine) are an essential component in the formation of the panels.
From both the wood panel design and construction techniques these domes have been proven to withstand extreme seismic and load forces through testing that was completed at the University of British Columbia’s Earthquake Research Facility. The structures also have a complete open span interior since no truss or interior load bearing walls are required. This allows complete adaptability to the end use purpose and functionality of the building. The domes themselves are also relatively light and do not need special foundations. Typically domes are built on a concrete slab, crawl space or full foundation. Small domes with a stiffened floor system can also be placed on pad foundations.
Several advantages to building dome structures for any type of home or building is:
- The sphere is nature’s most efficient shape, and a dome covers the most living area with the least amount of surface area. When compared with a similar-sized rectangular-shaped house, a dome home will have 30% less surface area and use at least 1/3 less lumber.
- As domes have less surface area, they reduce the amount of energy required to heat or cool the interior space; less heat is transferred to and from its surroundings.
- Though a dome uses less material, it is unquestionably stronger than a rectangular-shaped house using stick-frame manufacturing. Dome structures have unparalleled strength and a natural ability to withstand immense earthquake, hurricane and snow load forces.
- A dome’s more compact footprint saves perimeter shell and foundation materials.
Curved by Design’s website says that the cost to build a dome is comparable to a stick-frame building, and in some cases can be less. The cost depends on the size and complexity of the dome’s shape as well as the level of completion the customer requires. Some people choose to do some or all of the finishing themselves. Others require a completely finished product – ready to move-in. Curved By Design Inc. finishes all projects to a minimum level of lock-up.
Photos courtesy of Curved by Design, Inc.