At the time of writing, our personal experience with dome building consists of the construction of the Honey House. The Honey House is a 12-foot (3.6 m) interior diameter earthbag dome sunk two feet (0.6 m) into the ground. We did the bag work in 19 days (with a lot of head-scratching) over a period of two months. We averaged a crew of three to five people working modest five-hour days in between other work schedules. A professional backhoe operator did the excavation work, and all the reject dirt used in the bags was delivered. Exterior plastering and sculpting went up in a few big parties; the fine detail work lasted throughout the summer. All in all, we have spent about $1,500 to date, which includes the windows and custom-made wood door. The Honey House was built below permit size in our backyard in the middle of town.
We learned a lot about the overall process, dynamics, structural integrity, and limitations of building a dome with earthbags. What we offer is a narrated sequence of events that depict the process of the construction of the Honey House. We include a few parallel design options along the way to show how the dome can be adapted to different styles and climates. The structural principles will remain the same, with our focus on building a modestly sized, self-supporting earthbag dome. Think of this as a montage from a movie rather than a step-by-step instructional video.
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