Dome Dreaming: Local Monolithic Dome Serves as New Model of Stewardship and Harmony
We are living in such a time where old systems are collapsing and failing, and it’s time to create new models that will support our future generations to survive and thrive.
There are so many new technologies and teachings coming forth that model new ways (and sometimes remembering former ways) of interacting with energy, permaculture, and construction. Learning to live in harmony with the elements and natural world, as well as with each other, is important now more than ever.
My commitment as a realtor is to support this transition and co-create this new model of living by helping visionaries and social change-makers become the stewards of epic lands and homes here in these mountains and beyond.
When a friend of mine recommended I contact a local couple to support them with their land search about two years ago, I graciously accepted. A vibrant visionary couple, Max and Phoenix are highly trained in the healing and culinary arts, and committed to creating a new model for living and community.
They began the search for land with an intention to create a showcase that inspires others to think, feel, and create in a new way. When I first met them, I recognized and embraced their passion and clear vision to create a unique home and gathering space for community, and to model what is possible by stewarding and being in harmony with the natural world.
The search for land began, and we explored several properties throughout the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Asheville. After a couple months, we came back to the gorgeous mountaintop property we had seen first, located at the end of Dula Springs Road in Weaverville. There is a stream bordering the driveway to the top, and as you cross the bridge, there is a steady incline to reach the pinnacle where epic western panoramic long-range mountain views await.
The land had been neglected a bit over the years, and required some love in order to become the location for their new dome home. After a year or so of deep visioning — along with bushwhacking, excavating, and other infrastructure — the home site was prepped. Max said the process of working with the county for permits was rather seamless, and each stage and milestone was met with graceful support.
As the time came to break ground in early 2018, Max and Phoenix inflated a three-story, 3,000-square-foot Airform on the site, which will soon become the monolithic dome. It will serve as Max and Phoenix’s personal home, as well as a private event and gathering space to share with others on occasion.
These amazing structures are constructed following a method that requires a tough, inflatable Airform, steel-reinforced concrete and foam insulation. Each one of the stages of construction needs to be followed in a specific way. To guide them through this process, Max and Phoenix enlisted the help of Calvin Hensley with Hendersonville-based U.S. Dome Builders, who has traveled throughout the region to build these structures.
“They are cost-efficient, earth-friendly, extremely durable and easily maintained. Most importantly, a Monolithic Dome uses about 50 percent less energy for heating and cooling than a same-size, conventionally constructed building,” according to Monolithic.org. “Monolithic Domes are neither restricted by climate nor by site location. In terms of energy consumption, durability, disaster resistance and maintenance, Monolithic Domes perform well in any climate, even extremely hot or cold ones. And they can be constructed on virtually any site: in the mountains, on beaches, even underground or underwater.”
There have recently been advances in the material used in monolithic dome construction, which now includes aircrete. A much lighter and stronger material than the traditional cement material, domegaia.com reports that “structurally reinforced AirCrete can cut costs of conventional methods of construction by a factor of 10.”
We are living in a time where it is essential that we end the mass consumption of raw materials, and utilize a more efficient, economical, and sustainable way to build our living structures, as well as embrace renewable energy sources. Thanks to Max and Phoenix for visioning and building one of the area’s first Monolithic Dome homes, Western North Carolina now has a local model to experience and see what is possible.
Jason “Papa Jah” Martini is a realtor with Keller-Williams Professionals and founder of New Earth AVL Realty with the mission of turning dreams into reality. Jason is committed to living in harmony with the Earth and with others. He has helped many families in our community find their ideal home or land, and supported others in selling their home or land and transitioning to a new chapter in their life. He feels blessed to call these ancient grandmother mountains his home, where he aims to raise up his daughter Sophia to be the best human she can be as part of the next seven generations.
You can also view this article as it was originally published on pages 26-27 of the 2018-2019 edition of the directory.