Dome Gaia workshop held on Kauai fall 2017 for teaching the building of inexpensive, durable, quick-built structures suitable for agriculture structures or living. Rob Cruz and Gabriel De La Cruz discussion.

YouTube
One of the comments below the video said their previous project in Hawaii failed. This shows how important it is to have a thorough understanding of the building process. Do the research to learn as much as possible, and get hands-on experience at a workshop if possible.

Also, a reminder that we encourage minimal use of Portland cement and other energy intensive materials. In this case you could use magnesium cement instead of Portland, and reduce or eliminate rebar. Even better in my opinion is to use simpler, more natural materials such as earth, scoria, recycled wood, etc.
Related: aircrete being used to build a rocket mass heater.


Comments

Kauai Air-crete dome workshop — 11 Comments

  1. I am pretty skeptical of these people. As beautiful as these houses are, when asked if it would survive a storm, the guy said “I hope so.” Also, they have some idea of using some sort of fabric near the exterior of the dome to give it shear strength instead of rebar.

    They don’t really talk like people who know what they are talking about. It would have been nice to hear one of them say that they ran their ideas past an engineer.

    I love hippie house builders as much as the next guy, but sometimes they are flying on hope and rainbows more than expertise, and I would hate to be the person living in one of these that learns first hand that they don’t stand up well to earthquakes or storms.

    Also, if you were in a tropical or wet place, wouldn’t the exterior of one of these end up turning into a mold garden unless you climbed up on in and hosed it down periodically?

    Just too many unanswered questions from my point of view, including whether or not using soapy water to make aircrete is a good idea. In the video the guy seemed barely sure of the soap to cement ratio in making this stuff.

    Was there any real testing beside making a couple of houses that are only a few years old?

    This is the New Agey sort of intuition based building that gives me the heebie jeebies.

    • Skepticism is warranted for any new and relatively unproven ideas. I know for sure domes will quickly mold in rainy climates. We’ve warned of this over and over on our blog. It will require ongoing maintenance. I live in the tropics and every older building has black roofs and windowsills.

      I would not trust these aircrete domes in a hurricane or earthquake zone! No way. I’ve seen towns leveled/utterly destroyed by hurricanes and the forces involved can scarcely be comprehended. I’ve seen firsthand thick steel beams and joists twisted together into spaghetti, highways torn apart, concrete and steel buildings blown apart like toys. In fairness, almost nothing can withstand these type of forces except maybe a domed reinforced concrete military bunker. If you’re a mile or so away from the sea you’ll have a chance of surviving in really strong houses like earthbag houses if there’s extra reinforcement. Even then it’s very risky. The best advice is don’t live in these areas.

    • I think they’re talking about the mesh used in roofing (built up hot tar/mesh), and that should be affordable.

      Earthbags are wide and very stable. These aircrete blocks are thin and on edge so they need extra reinforcing.

    • Seems like they have it figured out now. I like how they form a small slab and then cut the blocks instead of forming one at a time.

      Coming very soon: my low cost/low tech dome building method.

      • I noticed that as well, about cutting the blocks and thought “why?”. Wouldn’t it be easier to pour the air-crete into a form with several individual bricks like one would make earth bricks. What was your thought about the slab? Maybe, its easier to cut different sizes as needed …

        • Their method is better than typical forms because it allows changing the angle(s) on the top and bottom edges of the blocks.

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