Friday, April 18, 2008

In Hesperia, California, architect Nader Khalili created a housing movement for the future. Khalili, who passed away in March, prototyped his dome-shaped adobes on a commission from NASA for a lunar colony. Then he realized that his “superadobes” could take root on Earth. Studio 360’s Eric Molinsky visited Cal-Earth with some friends who dream of living in giant igloos made of dirt.

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Eric Molinsky

Comments [30]

Blaire L from Oregon

Here is the link to Geodesic Dome Houses

by Pacific Domes International. (

Sep. 06 2012 12:24 PM
Blaire from Oregon United States

You many want to check out Pacific Dome's International geodesic dome homes. They are environmentally friendly and similar to these.

Geodesic dome homes

Sep. 04 2012 01:00 PM
gary Wilson from Maryland

I hope people can soon give up old thinking of stick build boxes to live in

Apr. 10 2010 07:30 AM
Ted Fosterwelsh from Ashland, KY

I've been working on my sons play house based on some of the architecture in Star Wars. I found the best references from looking at Tunisian homes, via Google Earth. If you liked the images you should check out the houses in Tunisia.

Aug. 24 2009 10:00 PM
Paul E from Northport, AL

The news is full of stories of people made homeless by storms, fires, floods and hard can this be?

Nov. 17 2008 01:09 PM
Hammad from Washington, DC

I wonder how these homes would work on the muggy East Coast, where night time temperatures don't go low enough to cool the house off at night. Would they still not need air conditioning?

Apr. 24 2008 11:47 AM
Wendy from Oregon

Absolutely! Looking at these images filled me with a sense of peace and light, especially from the inside-out. Just lovely.

Apr. 23 2008 03:32 PM
Harrison Softer from Miami, Florida

I would live in one in a moment. Sooooo beautiful!

Apr. 23 2008 01:13 PM
Melinda Treml from Flagstaff, AZ

My only question is: how do we get these into our communities? This Adobe home is a perfect response for many issues we face here in Arizona: it remains cool, it uses resources for building that are local, and it provides affordable housing--as well as affordable energy bills. This is a worthy initiative. What I want to do now, is find a way to get this type of building implemented into the codes and governing structures that have traditionally kept such innovation from taking off. We NEED this. Yet, the structure of our social sytems keeps us from attaining it. How do we solve this problem?

Apr. 23 2008 11:50 AM
Sue Lange from PA

I would absolutely live in something like this. In fact it looks like something an ambitious DIYer like myself would make. I have a home, but if I didn't, I would definitely look into this. I do not like big homes, I like efficient homes. This one looks efficient.

One good thing I've heard recently is that the MacMansion is on its way out. No surprise there with the costs of climate control going up. Hopefully people's tastes will change as well so they can accept this style. It looks so flexible, like you really could design your own.

Keep on keepin' on.

Apr. 22 2008 02:47 PM
Anonymous EarthBuilder from LA, CA

Cal-Earth ROCKS!
Super-adobe structures are fireproof, earthquake resistant, eco-friendly, sustainable, water proof, flood resistant, and inexpensive!!!

Nader quoting Rumi:"You can wake up a person who is sleeping, but you can never wake up a person who pretends to sleep."

Peoples gotta wake up and dome it up.
Get yo build on!

Apr. 22 2008 03:02 AM
Eric from Studio 360

A couple people asked whether the eco-domes a.k.a. superadobes could withstand heavy wind or rain. In fact, they have withstood hurricanes without flooding.

Apr. 22 2008 12:03 AM
Deborah from Western WA

I really enjoyed this program and was intrigued to find out about some of the new and forward thinking, sustainable home designs. But I had to wonder why Earthships weren't mentioned?? They've been around for quite a while, are built in harmony with the Earth, using recycled materials and no trees. They have incredible insulation value and don't use an additional heating/cooling system. They recycle water and have other eco-friendly features. And, they're built to sustain earthquakes! I would think they'd be popular in CA! Earthships is based in Taos, NM, where there's quite a community of these homes---they're way cool!

Apr. 21 2008 01:04 PM
cindy from oregon

would these structures tolerate frequent rain?

Apr. 21 2008 12:00 AM
Teresa from Portland Oregon

Would I live in one? I've been living waiting for for one. I always knew i would find a design that was dirt cheap, and dirt friendly, and dirt easy to maintain as a single, older woman with low income.

Finally, this is something that gives me a future.

The answer to Amerika's homeless?

Apr. 20 2008 11:54 PM
Dana Echlin from Baton Rouge, La

I could not believe the Irony of the name of your show and the subject matter of tonight's show: Dome Homes,Biofuel, Photovoltaics, etc. Because we truly have come "360" in Eco-Concern. Mother Earth Catalogs and the Mother Earth Village in Ashville NC had all these concepts and much more in the 60's. Also, the Irony in that the concepts on tonight's show are "Recycled" concepts.

Apr. 20 2008 11:07 PM
Josie from Seattle

Loved the show! Love the domes! yes I would live in one, I hope someday I can soon!

Apr. 20 2008 10:57 PM
Renee from Santa Monica

I love the concept and like the photo with the windows but don't care for the army barricks like ones meant for larger scale homes...if they could make them in various styles like tudor & victorian I think planning boards would adopt them more quickly.

Apr. 20 2008 09:54 PM
Mike from NYC

As rents become higher, I've started to think about leaving NYC. A friend built something similar to this out of recycled tires about 30 years ago outside of Taos, NM, and ever since I've fantasized about building a structure that requires little in the way of heating or air conditioning an a piece of land away from it all.

Apr. 20 2008 07:35 PM
Katy from traveling the US

Most Definitely we would be happy living in our little "domedom". We, (2 of us), are traveling the US in our little round aluminum trailer...we love the feeling of the roundness as compared to the big new RV's. At 206 sq.ft. (approx) we could easily adapt to 400 sq.ft. and feel as though we are living in a mansion.

GO GREEN! Each day we would be thankful for our choice to buid consciously.

Apr. 20 2008 02:43 PM
David Grant from Washington DC

Wonderful, to combine worldwide indigenous architecture with a bit of 10% concrete to make it last. Would high rainfall and humidity require additional roofing? Thatch would be beautiful, though requiring occasional replacement. Nice to see the mention of Evans & Smiley, knowing them from Aprovecho ('making best use of') Institute, days past.
Disagree that the single-family is per se auto dependent. The Netherlands, for instance: dense, often row house, granted, but also close-together single family structures. Work & school often nearby. Zoning tight so easy access to open space (no sprawl). Excellent public transport. Highest per capita bicycle ownership (and ridden by all ages ... even in rain, wind and cold). It's a matter of planning and commitment.
THANKS for this segment and so many others!

Apr. 20 2008 11:10 AM
Robert Thomas from Davis, CA

I'm moving to WY... I would love to know where to hire some folks to help build one for me. I think it blends well with the area and a good use of heating & cooling properties of the material. I would add solar panels to preheat water and power the house including my electric car.

I wish more people would consider these types of alternatives; this would bring the cost down and be a good example sustainable living that could catch on (as long as people are willing to make some lifestyle changes).

Thanks for this week’s show.

Apr. 20 2008 01:46 AM
Frances White from New Mexico / New York

Yes, definitely. They work in New Mexico, would it work in NYC?!

Apr. 19 2008 06:10 PM
Cheryl Safren from New York

I am very interested in learning if this is a possible solution to my current live/work problem. I need to keep the two close but separate. A possible two or three domes may be the solution.

Apr. 19 2008 04:17 PM
Frederick Park from Asheville, North Carolina

Dear Friends,

Yes, indeed, I would live in such a construction. I've been a fan and student of earth and particularly cob construction for about three years. The work, world-wide, that Ianto Evans (Cob Cottage Company, OR) and Linda Smiley are promoting is my initiation into earth structures. Domes are of particular interest to me as well and now I've a new focus for my study. You'll be hearing from me over the coming year. I salute Studio 360 for including you in their reportage an to Public Radio for their objectivity.

With highest regards,

Frederick Park
Asheville, NC

Apr. 19 2008 01:44 PM
john massengale from NYC

Shades of Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome, which thousands of hippies discovered they couldn't furnish. Houses need to work for their occupants, not just be inflexible architectural one-liners.

Second, these single-story single-family houses can only be built at an auto-dependent density, and for sustainability we need to get back to walkable neighborhoods.

Apr. 19 2008 10:40 AM
Sean Pflueger from Burke, VA

The idea of an affordable house made in an extremely green manor makes so much sense. I wonder how it would do in my area, but it would be such a sore thumb in a development of colonial houses that I would never sell it. I wish I could get someone to construct a home like this for me.

Apr. 18 2008 03:36 PM
David Amason from Nashville Tenn.

Wonderful-Thank you for such programs

Apr. 18 2008 02:53 PM
Connie from New Mexico

Sure would live in one!
Can existing homes be retrofitted?
Can existing adobe homes be improved?

Apr. 18 2008 12:29 PM
Barton Santello from Arivaca, Arizona

I visisted Cal Earth a few years ago while looking for ideas for my own earthen designed building. I was intrigued by the use of earthbag construction to erect domes. This got my reading Nader Khalili's "Ceramic Houses and Earthen Architecture book as well as the late Egyption architect Hassan Fathy - that master of adobe domes and vaults. What's keeping these methods of construction from taking root in the United States are the building codes. Since there are no standards (with the exceptiion of adobe and straw bale), the natural builder must bare the cost of testing and engineering. Living in Arizona, it's sad to see about 100,000 new homes a year built out of wood in the middle of the desert. I've built with adobe in Arizona. My current project (under construction) is a solar powered digital video post-production studio. It is being built with stone and cob (straw & clay). It's good to see Studio 360 take up this topic. There's so much happening in natural building that's very artistic. It fits the program format well. Thanks, Barton

Apr. 18 2008 12:16 AM

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