Underground dome home with living roof and greenhouse

Underground dome home with living roof and greenhouse

I’ve been very interested in underground dome homes with living roofs for many years after my dome building Instructable went viral. The other day I was watching a video about Hacking Aircrete that showed the dome home featured here. One side has a geodesic greenhouse and the other has a skylight.

Low cost, DIY Hobbit dome home with geodesic skylight and greenhouse

Low cost, DIY Hobbit dome home with geodesic skylight and greenhouse

The skylights and the dome shape itself could be built using a kit from Zip Tie Domes. Aircrete or lightweight cellular concrete may not be the greenest material, but it is an option for building unique homes such as this one. One major challenge is preventing moisture problems from roof leaks. The skylight and greenhouse glazing in particular need to be sealed carefully. One option is to use scoria bags or tubes wrapped around the Zip Tie Dome. Scoria is volcanic rock that’s rot proof, fire and insect proof. Search our blog for lots more information about building with scoria.


Domes with Living Roofs and Geodesic Skylights — 7 Comments

  1. I need to replace my skylights on my geodesic domes
    Do u know where I can buy and get them installed. They are triangle
    I live in Lake City fl

  2. Hi, this is awesome. an underground dome house with living roof and geodesic skylights. But I have a question Sir, what about the ventilation inside? During earthquake, can it withstand? I hope you can answer my question. This is an interesting idea in building a house.

    • Domes in general can withstand the forces of earthquakes better than most structures; they are one of the most stable shapes around. Ventilation would have to be introduced through specific vent holes inserted into the shell in such a way that the vent will not allow the entry of water.

  3. I just had a “DOH” moment after reading this. 2X4s that have been torched burned could be used to create the framework for the geodesic frame. In this case wouldn’t the earthbags provide enough support for the dome walls?

    The 2X4 frame could then be used for placing the windows into while the walls would be earthbag.

    I like how the magnesium cement can be used for speed though. So I guess it would come down to which would be better for this type of construction; Earthbag or Air-crete?

    • Yes, you could frame the geodesic frames with wood, but this would be rather tricky for the greenhouse part due to all the angles. That’s why I think it would be way easier to assemble a Zip Tie Dome and stack bags around the outside. Build the wood framing right on top of the Zip Tie Dome as a guide. That’s what I would do.

      Aircrete, scoria or earthbags? Ferrocement is another good option. The general rule is to use what makes most sense in your area. Scoria would be the most obvious choice if it’s locally available. Check landscape supply centers. But often times it’s not available. You have to consider climate concerns such as severe cold, high rainfall, etc.

      You can also create a hybrid building system. For example, add ferrocement to the Zip Tie Dome with scoria bags and bituthene rubber membrane as moisture barrier.

      Also note, it’s too difficult to get living roofs to grow in arid climates. They make way more sense in say the Pacific Northwest.

  4. Chris, one of our long time readers, has pointed out how magnesium cement is now available for making aircrete. For making the air bubbles, the guy in the video above uses 7th Generation brand because it’s nontoxic.

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