A dome home for the corporate jet

 - January 28, 2008, 4:59 AM

Would you feel more comfortable about your hangar knowing that buildings from which it was derived are used as community disaster shelters? Monolithic Constructors of Italy, Texas, has designed and built schools, churches and storage warehouses that double as hurricane/tornado shelters. The company claims its new-design hangars can withstand winds of greater than 150 mph. Company president David South said his dome hangars cost about the same to build as a metal-frame hangar, but offer superior climate control, as well as better protection from wind, rain and snow.

The hangars are built using a balloon-like structure that is inflated to create the shape of the building. The interior is coated with polyurethane foam and steel rebar is attached to the foam. Then several inches of shotcrete is sprayed onto the assembly from the inside, embedding the rebar. The result is a concrete, steel-reinforced, thin-wall structure.

South suggested that the one-piece curved door is the most interesting feature of the hangar version of his domes. The door hangs from a curved overhead track and rotates into place with rollers attached to the bottom. There is no lower track to accumulate ice and snow. A unique design seals the door on top and at each side once it is completely closed. At www.monolithic.com, the company has drawings for airliner-size hangars, though South said it has built only helicopter-size hangars so far. He added, however, that the company has constructed “dozens of Monolithic Dome churches and schools across the country.”    o