When retired mechanic Norval Jones turned 70, he decided to build his own retirement home - a 30-foot-wide, 15-foot-tall concrete geodesic dome. Jones was able to construct his home with the help of a kit containing all the components, plans, and instructions necessary for concrete dome construction. He simply followed a blueprint to erect the panels, and then connected the steel mesh between panels and concreted the seams to create a weathertight, insulated shell. In addition to being easy to erect, the dome home is energy-efficient, fire- and termite-resistant, low-maintenance, and economical.
The triangular panels of the shell are assembled, one row at a time, on top of a base row of 4-foot-tall rectangular panels. The rectangular panels are secured to a slab-on-grade foundation with #4 rebar, which are embedded in the foundation and extend vertically into the panel seams. After hoisting the triangular panels for each row into position by crane, Jones overlapped the steel mesh to reinforce the seams. Jones then trowel-applied the concrete mixture to the seams, carefully blending it with the panel concrete to produce a smooth, joint-free exterior.