In 2011 I had a wonderful visit with my friend Hajjar Gibran. For years he has inspired me with his creative ideas. This time he was building domes at his retreat center in northeast Thailand. He and his wife offered me a spot on their mango farm to build my own dome.
With Hajjar's guidance and design ideas, along with my own, and his son-in-law Tao's masonry skills, I had my dome home up and painted in six weeks.
The cost for the basic structure was under $6000. It took a few more weeks to add the details, such as doors, screens, pond, upstairs structure, stonework and landscaping. All this, including furnishings, was under $3000. ..Bringing my total cost to about $9,000. Please keep in mind this is in cost-friendly Thailand.
As much as I love my dome home, I probably would not have built it if was a long process. The low cost and time-efficiency of using blocks is what enticed me into building. Because suitable compressed earth blocks were not available at the time, cement blocks and clay bricks were used.
Now the goal is to take this design ..which is quick, affordable, strong, beautiful and fun, ..and build with more sustainable materials that better insulate for colder climates.