Building an Earthbag Dome

Originally published by Owner Builder Magazine, this excellent article by Rob Wainwright of Permaforest Trust comes complete with many useful building details, as well as quite a few beautiful photos.  Rob explains how they built their four meter dome step-by-step clearly enough that others could build one similar.

Permaforest Trust domeThis project is now featured on our Projects page and our Articles page.

Part 2, Finishing Off an Earthbag Dome, also by Rob Wainwright, is not yet online but is available direct from Owner Builder Magazine, issue 147, June/July.

The Permaforest Trust website is a treasure trove of informative articles on living lightly on the land, with hours or days of free reading material.  Highly recommended.

1 thought on “Building an Earthbag Dome”

  1. From Jerry:
    I’m interested in building a small dome home in Maine, and I have a question about water penetration. My understanding is that like straw, earthbag buildings need to breathe, which the plaster coating allows. My concern is that since a dome isn’t usually protected by a roof, the plaster will allow water to enter the earthbags, and maybe enter the house, yet a barrier between the outside lime plaster and the bags would promote mold, wouldn’t it? What would your suggestion be for this problem?

    From Owen:
    As you’re probably aware, domes evolved in desert regions and are not particularly well suited to rainy climates. Plaster performs best when protected from direct rain and snow. So yes, your structure will likely have moisture problems. Water could leak in through small cracks. I’d be concerned about weak sports developing and causing structural problems.

    I suggest adding a roof something like this Kentucky Dome home:


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