design of concrete domes

A beach front style home on a barrier island in Florida. Survived Hurricane Ivan generating great interest in domes. The ground floor is all garage and designed to let a storm surge pass through with little or no damage. This was a joint effort between myself and Jonathan Zimmerman, the San Francisco dome architect who came up with this beautiful concept with lots of input from Siglers. I did the rendering in Bryce5, the model itself in ArchiCAD. See the owners website, very interesting. See more domes in the Architectural Gallery.

The Sun-Sentinel article 
from Sunday, 14 Nov. 2004

We visited the site on Nov. 9th, 2004, several months after the storm. Mark Sigler is in the blue shirt, Loi on the left and me in the middle. The double curved stairway is gone, ripped away by the 18' storm surge. It was designed to do just that as was the the garage floor slab. A lot of houses were swept completely off their pilings and deposited hundreds of feet away. Some have obvious physical damage. Many have blue tarps over the roof. Three to six feet of sand was washed away from under the houses. Mark has already had sand brought back in. Houses that appear to be unaffected actually have extensive water damage to the interior sheetrock, carpeting and so on, because rain was forced in through the roof vents. Setting like that for a few weeks brings on the mold. They will all need to be gutted and redone inside. The destruction is unbelievable. The dome performed as expected. If utilities were turned on it would be livable as is. Mark will replace the vinyl floor tiles on the first floor. In the right light you can see the edges have curled slightly from exposure to water. 
Pensacola Beach virtually destroyed, 
but Dome of a Home still stands!
Hurricane Ivan Report From the Dome of a Home

by Valerie Sigler

September 17, 2004

Mark's decision to stay in the Dome of a Home with the news crew from MSNBC during category 4 Hurricane Ivan was a testament to his faith in the structure that we had built. Kerry Sanders, the MSNBC correspondent, had been reporting on hurricanes for twenty-one years. He also felt confident in the engineering and design of the home. As I stayed in contact with Mark throughout the evening as Hurricane Ivan approached, he expressed surprise and delight with how well the structure was responding. Live coverage was broadcast on MSNBC until the equipment succumbed to the storm.

2:30 AM -- The eye of Hurricane Ivan is now making landfall. Pensacola Beach is in absolutely the worst position (upper right hand quadrant - east) as the storm arrives. Most of the MSNBC crew is asleep. Asleep? I guess that is testament to the confidence the crew had in the home and the fact that the noise from the storm was not unbearable. Mark is awake listening as the wind intensifies and the water is crashing across the island. The storm surge and rain caused five feet of water to rise underneath the dome. Mark says he can hear debris crashing into the dome, but does not feel any movement of the dome from the surging Gulf although the water is flowing over the entire island. Although he has no visual confirmation, he said it sounds like there are tornadoes howling around the island. The most unnerving sensation is the realization that there is no land until you reach Gulf Breeze.

7:30 AM -- Daylight has brought devastating visuals of a storm whose damage far exceeds that of Hurricane Opal in 1995.

The Dome of a Home has maintained its structural integrity! Everyone is safe and the home will be livable again with some necessary repairs. We did have wind driven rain leak through the windows and flood the floors. The good news is that the dome is still standing, albeit with some exterior damage from the staircases that were ripped away by the waves. The geo-thermal system is damaged, the fences gone, and the garage concrete floor has disappeared.

Mark has been traipsing across the island and says that the devastation is extensive. All lower floors are gone with the blow-out walls doing exactly as designed -- being blown away, literally. It seems evident the entire beach was covered with at least 5 feet of water. All of the garages and their concrete floors have disappeared. The Catholic Church's roof has sustained much damage and the school looks like it has been hit hard. Homes that were older and still on the ground level have basically vanished. The surge has subsided on the Gulf side, but the Sound side of the island is still under waist deep water.

Read the report filed by the MSNBC reporter, Kerry Sanders, that rode out the storm in the dome with Mark.

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