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Constructing A Monolithic Dome

Constructing A Monolithic Dome

with Dan Hildebrand

monolithic dome haiti- hildebrand smallIn 2012 Dan Hildebrand set out to help with the recovery efforts in Haiti following the devastating earthquake. He and a local semi-skilled crew constructed a 40 foot diameter Monolithic Dome using a custom balloon form from Monolithic Structures and a 4 Jet Combo Blaster stucco sprayer. Dan arrived to find the local crew completely empty handed. “When we arrived to start working, there wasn’t a pencil on the site, there wasn’t a single hand tool, there wasn’t a screw driver. No one had a knife, no one had anything. So even finding a compressor turned into a real nightmare.”

Inspired by the efforts of Steven Kirby at H.E.R.O., Dan raised $30,000 to construct a community centered facility that could be highly functional for the rural community of Maniche but also serve as a safety shelter during hurricanes and other natural disasters.

With two skilled tradesmen from Port Au Prince, Dan directed the local crew in constructing the balloon form and applying a thin layer of stucco to the interconnected metal re-bar surrounding the form. “They set about putting essentially a thin layer of shotcrete on first using a 3 to 1 sand to cement mix with a lot of large pieces of aggregate in the sand.” They used a thick mix with just enough water to allow it to pass through the stucco sprayer. Using a mixer for consistency, the crew would fill a wheelbarrow and then push the mix over to the site where another crew member would scoop or shovel it into the stucco sprayer’s hopper ready for application.

Dan admitted to trying the stucco sprayer for the first time before his trip to Haiti at a neighbor’s house. Using the little experience he had, he was able to train the local crew who adopted their own techniques to make the sprayer work to their liking. “The guys using the sprayer understood it quickly and found the best way to use it, as people who build do very quickly.”

Dan has big plans for the future of Monolithic Dome building throughout the developing world. “I can see a situation where we’ll have 3 sprayers or more running at the same time on one building. “It’s really great. This is not like a 2 inch shotcrete hose that you run off a pump connected to a concrete truck.” That kind of setup is just way too costly in most places around the world. We’re trying to do the equivalent job at a much more affordable price using what’s available wherever we may be. I intend to use the mortar sprayers on any ecoshell building projects I’m involved in.”

“We’re in the business of doing multiple units of housing in developing worlds. We need a piece of equipment that we can rely on and I’m certain the mortar sprayer is going to work out well for us.”

Progress Photosmonolithic dome 1-2 monolithic dome 3-4 monolithic dome 5-6 monolithic dome 7-8 monolithic dome 9-10

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