Author Topic: Standard dome Models  (Read 14387 times)

Offline H

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Standard dome Models
« on: April 22, 2014, 11:49:47 AM »
We've done the course, shot foam and concrete, listened to all the talks on the whys and the wherefores, so we've reached the point where we need to ask, "what next?"

"Saving as many as we can" is not going to be cheap and I think MDI has hit on model that can work well - the rental unit.  However, the standard IO-20 (314 square feet) is not that efficient.  It's an oblate sphere, so the surface area to volume is high.  While it provides a good, time-proven shelter, it's also cramped.  The cost to go to an IO-24 (450 square feet) is expensive, and pushes up costs which have to be passed on to the renter.

What's the most efficient space?  A perfect sphere - we learn that from nature.  In our case, a half-sphere.  But on anything larger than 20 ft across, we "waste space" in the head room.  The usual solution is to go oblate again, lowering the center of the ceiling so the "vaulted ceiling" is not quite so bad.  MDI also experimented with a fourplex design but those units have a number of issues, primarily noise with the particular acoustics inside a dome, and a very small space (250 square feet)

I believe our solution is the 37' internal diameter dome, subdivided into 4 apartments.  What makes our design unique is the use of loft space to provide a separate sleeping area, and allow an illusion of additional space.



Entering the dome, stairs lead upwards to a sleeping loft, which accommodates a full-sized bed, ample closet space, and a study desk, with a view down into the main living area and the entrance.  A fitted kitchen takes advantage of the 36-inch augments to recess the sink and maximize livable floor space, while a 30" door (or a pocket door) gives access in the well-appointed bathroom.  A window over the kitchen sink provides light to the kitchen area, while another tall window next to the door illuminates the stairs and the living area, and also provides a little natural light to the loft.  A skylight over the bedroom area is an option.

Each of the domes is constructed with three inches of foam as a sound barrier between apartments, since MDI's experience is that noise abatement is a challenge due to the shape of the dome.  Normal, flat ceilings on each floor also address this issue. 

Around 250 square feet of living space, a 36 square foot bathroom, and a loft bedroom of around 100 square feet - renting at $ 100 - $ 150 a week, depending on location.  That includes utilities such as water, electricity and possibly internet.   That's 450 a month in a rural location, where someone sick and tired of the rat race can semi-retire on a limited fixed-income.

The assisted living model (not shown) has three 250 square feet living area, a 36 square feet disabled bathroom in each; the forth unit has a disabled bath/shower, social area, and stairs up to the caregiver's apartment - 450 square feet with a large kitchen, living area and bedroom, where the resident couple prepare the meals for the three people in their care below.   

Another model has two rentals and a 700 square feet apartment.  Rental on the two units should provide around $ 8,000 a year supplemental income for the owner, making affordable housing a service that the semi-retired can provide, while taking care of their own need for reliable, local income.  A 1,300 - 1,500 square foot dome home can be built into the same "standard" airform. 

The "emergency shelter/emergency housing" model can provide a safe place to sleep for up to 18-24 individuals, plus common cooking and sanitation facilities, and 27 cubic feet of personal locker space per individual. 

By standardizing, we can take advantage of production methods not normally used with domes.  Where ten or more identical domes are being built in one place, the Ecoshell I method will be favored.  This allows the foaming and exterior surface to be applied by a third part specializing in barrier roofing, and with 17,000 square feet of commercial surface, allows for a regular maintenance contract.  For private home building we'd recommend an individual airform since the economies of scale for a support contract will not be there. 

Standard design also allows for reusable forms for the concrete work, for the prefab of certain pieces, maximizing the speed in which units can be put up.  Time from starting the forms to handing the keys to a resident should be no longer than eight weeks, with a target of four weeks. 

The MDI construction technique allows for up to 8' skylight in the center with no loss of structural strength.  The 20' foot height of a dome allows 3'6" of space between the top and the "8' open ring" at the apex.  That gives us space for a squat cylinder 8' across, 3'6" tall, in which any "appropriate technology can be fitted.  The design calls for this space to be "external" (if the area leaks it drains directly into the septic/city sewer) and the use of which will carefully be controlled.  Thermal solar, solar water, PC or wind systems are considered as "plug-in units" to reduce utility cost. 

So to recap:

* A standard sized dome that maximizes usable floor area on two levels.
* Standard internal forms for a quarter-circle, half-circle, three-quarter circle and full circle give "plug and play" functionality for budget-conscious Domers
   (A Domer is a doomer who's taken one of the O's out of the name and lives inside it).
* Ability to integrate sustainble technology directly into the infrastructure.

Well, that's what I've been working on since my return.  We're talking with a potential investor who may be interested in putting up 25 of the rental quad-plexes this year.  I have also commissioned a 3D virtual model to be constructed so we can have "fly-though video" of the designs to show potential customers, and work has begun on the commercial website for selling domes.   




Offline RE

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2014, 02:11:35 PM »
GMTA.

I thought of similar aspects of wasted space in the volume and figured a Sleeping Loft could be constructed easily.  The sleeping loft would be suspended from the ceiling and brought down at night to sleep, much as Garage storage systems for the ceiling are rolled up and down.  This would be particularly good for elderly people who might have trouble negotiating the stairs in a full two-story dome.

My other idea is to get away from the Boxy grid like pattern that you get by cutting into quads.  Rather, use a smaller dome and cut it up into thirds.  This gives you the hexagonal pattern of a Honeycomb for the communities, with nice Commons space.  This also makes the best use of your total building area through the principle of close packing.


The other advantage to this is you can hook together as many domes as you want to for larger living spaces, all using the same form.

With both these techniques, you can cut the size of the dome down substantially, which will reduce costs.  Or you could keep the larger size dome and just give more living space to your renters at a slightly higher price.

RE

Offline H

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2014, 02:42:51 PM »
I stuck to a fourplex because that produces right-angles for the conventional cabinetry, bathroom fitting, etc, to integrate with, for a lot less cost than paying an hourly rate to custom-fit into 60 or 120 degree angles.

If people want to pay a premium for getting away from that "Boxy", I'm all for that.   I favor using local suppliers for the internal work and custom work will help boost the local economy - velocity of money being the only tide that can really lift all boats.

I already have a design for a standard (37') dome with a shop, a laundromat, storage and two offices, with the idea that you sell a "corner shop franchise" to an enterprising individual or couple and perhaps combine it with the rental office.  Ideally, it would also be a distribution point for CSA.   


Offline RE

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2014, 02:45:14 PM »
Also, if you move the Kitchen Sink over next to the bathroom in your design, you will have a lot less plumbing pipe to buy.

RE

Offline RE

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2014, 02:50:13 PM »
I stuck to a fourplex because that produces right-angles for the conventional cabinetry, bathroom fitting, etc, to integrate with, for a lot less cost than paying an hourly rate to custom-fit into 60 or 120 degree angles.

If people want to pay a premium for getting away from that "Boxy", I'm all for that.   I favor using local suppliers for the internal work and custom work will help boost the local economy - velocity of money being the only tide that can really lift all boats.

I already have a design for a standard (37') dome with a shop, a laundromat, storage and two offices, with the idea that you sell a "corner shop franchise" to an enterprising individual or couple and perhaps combine it with the rental office.  Ideally, it would also be a distribution point for CSA.

The only place you get a 90 degree angle is in the center where you placed the bathroom.  I'll work on an interior design that will accomodate standard kitchen and bath hardware.  Shouldn't be too hard.

RE

Offline H

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2014, 02:55:55 PM »
Also, if you move the Kitchen Sink over next to the bathroom in your design, you will have a lot less plumbing pipe to buy.

RE

That's come up more than once.  Ideally, the kitchen sink should be below the window and this design follows this best practice.  While modern living, particularly in small spaces, no longer adheres to those guidelines, a significant market will be older folks on limited income, and the familiarity of sink placement will be a 'feature'.

For rental units the sink may move, if the savings on piping are worth it.  For the sustainable living market, there's additional piping to support the "modular appropriate technology" ideas I'll be developing over the next few months.


Offline H

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2014, 03:03:18 PM »

The only place you get a 90 degree angle is in the center where you placed the bathroom.  I'll work on an interior design that will accomodate standard kitchen and bath hardware.  Shouldn't be too hard.

RE

Plus where the bathroom meets the kitchen area, and the sink in front of the window allows for 90 degree turn.  The stairs also run on the "grid" layout.  The design is outfitted with standard off-the-shelf cabinetry, appliances and plumbing already - that's all my stencils have at this point. 

I'm using IRC Section R304.3 for guidelines on what we can get away with.  Ceilings meet the 7' rule (at least 50% where the ceiling is sloped, as in the upstairs) and all "habitable rooms" are 70" sqf.  The stairs meet code without being "steep" and the bath fittings meet code in most places. 


Offline Eddie

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2014, 03:04:09 PM »
I like the design, H. At least for those who can do stairs. Good use of space, and more comfortable than what MDI is building.

Offline RE

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2014, 03:07:23 PM »
Here ya go.


RE

Offline RE

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2014, 03:21:58 PM »
In the next unit I added the sleeping loft.  It drops down over the Kitchenette area.

Advantage here is you don't lose any room to the Steps.


RE

Offline H

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Re: Standard Dome Models
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2014, 03:36:04 PM »
I like the design, H. At least for those who can do stairs. Good use of space, and more comfortable than what MDI is building.

Thanks, Eddie.

Part of the barrier to adopting, INHO, is the perceived "smallness" of the single room dome or SRO model.  The "loft area" allows for the "studio" to be one room, if there are business reasons for laying it out that way - i.e., any restrictive limits on the motel model.  With a small increase of floor space on the second floor, it becomes a one-bedroom with that bedroom meeting the 70 sqf minimum habitable room IRC criteria. 

When the 3D modelling is completed (already commissioned) we'll be able to try different "internal configurations" and see how it looks, and watch a walk-though. We're a couple of weeks off from that.  I'll have videos created for both the one-bed and studio version. 

For a three-apartment model, I'd go for  two on the ground floor of around 500 sqf, and one on the second floor, with the larger apartments carrying a 25% premium to cover the larger space (it is 25% larger) and keep the margins in the same ballpark.

Offline Surly1

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2014, 03:45:41 PM »
I have nothing to contribute to thois thread, but just wanted you to know I am enjoying it greatly. THe bedroom loft idea is what the tiny house people do, as well. It works as long as the owners still retain functional knees.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 05:26:13 PM by Surly1 »

Offline H

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2014, 03:50:49 PM »
I have nothing to contribute to thois thread, but just wanted you to know I am enjoying it greatly. THe bedroom loft idea is what the tiny house people do, as well. It works as long as the owners still retain functional needs.

I've been watching the "tiny house movement" for a while.  The challenge is the International Residency Codes.  The rules require a minimum of 120 square feet of livable area, and that cannot include the thickness of the walls, which catches a lot of hay bale builders  off guard.  Individual rooms need to be at least 70 square feet,  and headroom has to be 7' (half the area for sloped roofs).  There's rules about stairs if you want a second floor considered "livable space".

The IRC rules get revised again next year, and a few are hoping to have minimum sizes reduced.  I'm okay with 395 square feet of space, we could go smaller but we're getting into "prison cell" sizes and I want ot get away from that impression.  Small does not have to be ugly or cramped.






Offline RE

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2014, 05:52:00 PM »

I've been watching the "tiny house movement" for a while.  The challenge is the International Residency Codes. 

I met a woman who works for Tiny House at the airport.  The way they get around the IRC is by building them on trailers so they qualify as mobile housing.  This is pretty unrealistic for concrete domes of course.

In reality, most of the Tiny House people simply fly under the radar, building in Granma's backyard and so forth.  Obviously also, for commercial rental housing, you can't do that either.  You have to meet code.

I wonder if there would be any code restrictions with the drop-down loft?  It's really just a souped up Murphy Bed that goes on the ceiling instead of a wall.

RE

Offline H

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Re: Standard dome Models
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2014, 06:31:27 PM »

I've been watching the "tiny house movement" for a while.  The challenge is the International Residency Codes. 

I wonder if there would be any code restrictions with the drop-down loft?  It's really just a souped up Murphy Bed that goes on the ceiling instead of a wall.

RE

No idea, but I like Murphy beds.  Even if they were code, I'd still go for the loft/upstairs bedroom, since that counts as "habitable space" and increases the value of the property.