Welcome to www.birdcagedome.com
This Website Last Updated on Sunday, July 3rd, 2022
Instructions for building a 7 meter (23 feet) diameter dome.
Anyone willing to work to help themselves and others may use these plans.
If you use these plans as a basis for creating jobs and shelter,
Please email photos & info about your project to firstname.lastname@example.org
so that we may put your photos & info on this website to benefit more people.
You can use emt pipe or bamboo as a substitute for rebar
to create the dome shape with interwoven sets of parallel arches.
You can make a scaffold that basically is a half arch that pivots on a center braced or roped in place post.
The tripod stand & scaffold can be a braced post with an arched & pivoting wood or steel trussed ladder.
With the pivoting half arch scaffold you can work on the exterior without pushing the surface inward.
The hole where the post extends thru the top of the dome will become the apex vent or smoke hole.
We have found that using 24" wide chicken wire stretched over the top of the dome
and secured to the lowest horizontal ring will secure the tarps
and provide a matrix for attachment of expanded metal lath, hardware cloth, or more chicken wire.
The surface is trowelled with 2:1 mortor mix & water catchment can be integrated into the design.
The concrete about one inch thick is embedded and trowelled over chicken wire.
A Maize Dome
This birdcage dome at the Yaro Farm in Burkina Faso, Africa
Is being used to store harvested maize.
The idea here is that a useable and upgradeable dome tent
is built as quickly and economically as possible.
In Haiti and elsewhere many tents are built for emergency shelters.
If shelter tents are built like the birdcage dome,
they can be covered with wire and cement and then become permanent, durable and storm tolerant shelters.
Leaving the rebar and tarps (dome tent) inside the wire mesh and cement dome covering
provides options and a colorful interior finish.
Building systems requiring specially manufactured items
cannot be built as economically as a simple (rebar and tarps) dome tent covered with chicken wire and cement mortor.
When a thin layer of cement mortor is trowelled into and over wire mesh it is called ferrocement.
Water tanks, boats, and shelters have been built in many places around the world using ferrocement building methods.
There is a lot of information elsewhere on the internet about ferrocement shelters.
This particular method of building a ferrocement dome shelter
has been developed because of the great need for low cost substantial shelters.
If a temporary disaster shelter, dome tent, can be upgraded to be a substantial home using this building method,
then perhaps the Birdcage Dome building method could be used by many people around the world
without the need for a lot of money or reliance on any particular manufacturing company.
We know that when disasters strike there is an immediate need for shelter.
Afterwards, the tent shelters need to be transformed into substantial homes.
Building low cost and durable shelters and homes is the purpose of the Birdcage Dome.
We are finding that it is fairly easy and quick to make a rebar and tarps dome tent
and then cover it with chicken wire and a trowelled on cement mortor mixture.
We have found it quite easy to stretch the tarps and chicken wire mesh tightly over the rebar dome.
tarps (that are supported by the rebar dome) the dome tent is made more secure.
If a roll of chicken wire is cast over the dome tent and secured only to the lowest rebar ring,
the tarps will continue to be a waterproof tent, if the tarps are carefully lapped and stretched.
Wire, twine, string, or lightweight ropes are used to secure the tarps to the rebar birdcage dome.
Additional chicken wire can be attached to the secured chicken wire.
Then the surface can be rough trowelled with a first layer of cement mortor.
Optionally, a second layer chicken wire and--then a second coat of cement mortor can be added.
Two layers of chicken wire and cement mortor would ensure a more substantial and leak free dome.
The first layer of wire mesh and trowelled on cement mortor could often be enough.
A second layer of wire mesh and trowelled on cement mortor would repair the dome and ensure a more durable surface.
This is Evan Kubicek who went to Haiti
and taught birdcage dome building.
This is a birdcage dome is being built in Haiti by Haitians with materials purchased in Haiti.
This rebar dome frame was built and painted in two days.
Locally only (bent in half) 1/2 inch dia. by 30 feet long rebar was available.
So, the rebar was made straight (by unbending and using hammers) and cut in half.
The 15' sections were bent to match the curve of the dome
and spliced with 45" overlaps to make the interwoven arches forming the dome.
Then, the horizontal rings were added and the rebar was painted to prevent rusting.
Windows, doors, an outside covering, and a level concrete floor are being added.
How to Build a Birdcage Dome:
This is Wil Fidroeff, developer of the Birdcage Dome building alternative.
The idea of the Birdcage Dome came just after the earthquake in Haiti.
There were many tents being built in Haiti.
My initial thought was to design a dome that would first of all be quickly useable.
The trick to the birdcage dome is the way the initial rebar arches are woven.
first two sets of parallel arches are installed the intersect at 90 degrees.
Then do it again with two more parallel sets of arches rotated 45 degrees from the first two sets.
This will result in 16 places where rebar stakes are driven into the ground
and spliced to the lower end of a rebar arch.
The arches are installed in parallel sets in order to accomodate doors and windows between the parallel rebars.
Then concentric circles of rebar are attached to the outside of the interwoven rebar arches.
The doors and windows can be cut out after the rebar birdcage is completed.
We have found that a radius of 3.5 meters or 11.5 feet works well with 1/2" diameter rebar.
The rebar stakes in the ground are about 4.5 feet apart (1.4m) and about 1.5 to 2 meters in length
(depending on soil conditions and climate).
Paint the rebar stakes with a good metal primer before you drive them into the ground.
Or use epoxy coated rebar if available.
Also paint all the rebar making the birdcage, if you plan to leave the rebar exposed.
We put the tarps on the exterior so that the shelter is immediately useable.
The tarps also provide an interior finish an a place to stuff clothes, blankets, etc..
The chicken wire on the exterior is attached to only the lowest horzontal rebar ring
next to the ground to prevent piercing the tarps.
Use 24" wide chicken wire that comes in 150 foot long rolls.
As the circumference of both a circle and a sphere is pi x diameter,
you can cut the rolls in half at 75 feet and make 2 lengths from each roll.
If the chicken wire comes up a bit short because you have made your dome a bit bigger,
use wire to attach the chicken wire to the bottom ring of rebar.
attach the continuous rolls of chicken wire over the tarps in the same pattern as the rebar arches.
Then attach more chicken wire or expanded metal lath to cover the exterior surface completely.
Then apply mortor by squishing it into the chicken wire or expanded metal lath.
If you are using chicken wire,
it helps if you have used small lapping layers tarps and tied tightly over the rebar birdcage.
If your tarps are loose and you have used layers of chicken wire,
have someone slide a piece of thin plywood or thick cardboard between the rebar and the tarp
where you are applying mortor on the outside.
This just helps to provide support so the mortor can be applied thinner and more evenly.
The thinner you apply the mortor, the better.
You want to completely cover the wire or mesh,
but too much concrete that is too thick will not be inhibited from cracking by the wire or mesh.
The best thickness for the mortor is about 3/4 to one inch or about 2 to 2.5 centimeters.
This technique is called ferrocement and is used to build boats and watertanks.
No exterior painted on waterproof coating is necessary.
Spray or throw water on the exterior surface every few hours for the first couple of days to get a good cure.
After 30 days the concrete surface can be climbed on.
Put a vent (smoke hole) in the top center if you want to build a fire in the center of the dome.
FAZE CHANGE PRODUX
Makes Plans and Kits for wood, concrete, and hybrid dome kit types
that can be built on the incredible MesaBase, Rock & Block, Floor & Foundation.
All homes whether they are made with a metal frame or a wood frame
need to raised above ground level to stay dry inside.
The floor inside this dome home can be raised and leveled
and so can the area adjacent the outside of the home.
The most economical way to do this is with gravel or rubble.
HERE ARE SOME REASONS YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER
BUILDING ABOVE A RETAINED RIVER ROCK MESA BASE,
ROCK & BLOCK, FLOOR AND FOUNDATION:
1. INCREASES FIRE SAFETY BY PREVENTING THE GROWTH OF VEGETATION ADJACENT THE BUILDING.
2. REDUCES THE LOSS OF ENERGY VIA THE PERIMETER OF OF THE CONCRETE FLOOR.
3. RAISES THE BUILDING ABOVE NATURAL GRADE.
4. PREVENTS EROSION ADJACENT THE BUILDING AND CREATES RAINWATER DRAINAGE AREA.
5. INSULATES UNDER THE CONCRETE FLOOR.
6. INSULATES THE GROUND ADJACENT THE BUILDING.
7. PROVIDES A RAISED PERIMETER BORDER AREA.
8. GREATLY REDUCES COST BY REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF NECESSARY CONCRETE.
For more info & photos on the Mesa Base floor and foundation:
Building A Birdcage dome that can be covered with concrete.
8 interwoven arches create a strong dome and allow for conventional doors and/or windows between parallel arches.
Make a model like this one to prove it to yourself or anyone else.
When you push down on the wire cage you can feel the strength of the dome.
We used 12 gauge fence wire to make this small dome model to prove the concept to ourselves and to others.
In addition to manufacturing precision cut EconOdome wood kits,
and, because of a dire need for substantial shelter and jobs in Haiti and elsewhere,
Faze Change Produx has developed a very low cost method
for building steel reinforced concrete dome homes with only common materials and local labor.
We offer the following construction information for anyone in need of low-cost and substantial housing.
We are hoping to help create both jobs and shelter for folks in need of jobs and shelter.
So, read on if you wish to "help others" and "make a job for yourself".
At minimum you would need a circular piece of ground that is--23 feet or 7 meters across--(in diameter).
To draw a circle 23 feet in diameter or 7 meters in diameter.
hold the end of a tape measure over the center point
and draw a circle on the ground having a radius of 11 feet-6 inches (3.5 meters).
A 23 foot diameter concrete dome home can be built with:
painted rebar, one or two doors, perhaps some windows, chicken wire and/or expanded metal lath/mesh,
small tarps, tie wire, portland cement, sand, and water.
We are involved with helping those in desperate need of shelter
to build low cost and substaintial dome homes.
Here is a brief description of the process & MATERIALS NEEDED:
8ea 10 ft.(3m) lengths of rebar cut in half to make 16 corner posts.
40ea 10ft.(3m) lengths of rebar to make 8 arches (5 rebars per arch).
50ea 10ft.(3m) lengths of rebar to make horizontal rings that go horizontally around the arches.
As a substitute for horizontal rings, 6x6 #10 wire mesh can be used to wrap and lap around the arches.
The surface area of the birdcage dome is about 1000 square feet or about 93 square meters.
So, you will need about 1500 square feet or about 150 square meters of tarps.
The tarps will be stretched tight and lap over the rebar dome.
So you will need enough tarps to allow for lots of overlapping.
The tarps need to be put on the bottom first and should lap like big shingles to keep the rain out.
Small tarps will work better than large tarps. If the tarps wrinkle when stretched over the dome,
the four corners of each tarp can be twisted and tied in a knot.
Then, galvanized wire or strong rope or nylon string can be tied to the knots and to the dome.
Always stretch the tarps tight over the surface of the dome.
To stretch over the tarps:
You will need one layer, 1000sf (93sm) of expanded metal lath (diamond metal mesh).
Or, you can use several layers, 3000sf (280sm) of chicken wire.
The thickness of the stucco (ferrocement) mortor will vary between 1 and 3 centimeters (1/2 in. to 1 in.).
To cover the dome with a 2 to 1 mortor mix (2 parts sand to one part cement),
you will need about 20ea 94# bags of #2 portland cement and twice as much sand (40 bags).
A 3 parts sand to 1 part portland cement mixture can be used on the sides
or even on the top, if little cement is available for whatever reason.
Wet the concrete surface often for the first three days and before resuming trowelling work.
A pre-hung door frame & hardware would be needed.(Two doors if desired)
Also, windows may be installed that are a MAXIMUM of 4ft WIDE x 4ft HIGH --or there abouts--
The top of the windows will be at 7 feet with the sills at 3 feet.
Everyone can see out the windows and two can easily share the view out the window.
Larger and more windows can also provide more ventilation.
If windows are installed the water catchment trough will need to be routed under or over the windows.
The following plans assume the use of two outswinging storm doors and no windows.
Of course, the design can be altered as you wish and the rainwater
trough/overhang can be a made as small or as large as you wish.
A light and large bladed fan near the top of the building could light and cool the interior.
A spinning turbine at the top of the dome assists with ventilation when there is breeze outside.
Small operable trailer skylights can add additional light and ventilation inside the building.
Search 14"x14" screened trailer roof vents, if you wish to install vents.
Colorful tarps and painted rebar would be visible on the inside.
The interwoven painted steel rebar would make a pattern on the interior
that would remind one of the lattice inside a Mongolian yurt.
The painted steel rebar would be very useful for hanging whatever.
As soon as the rebar arches frame + door and windows are in place then--
the horizontal rebar would be added--as soon as you get above the top of the
door and windows--then--the rings could be made on the ground
and then tilted and slid into place on top of the interlaced arches.
The rebar can be connected by "zip-ties" or galvanized wire.
Twisted wire connections would need to be made inside the dome to prevent poking holes into the tarps.
If the twisted wire ends are left long then the ends
could form a loop that hangs to the inside and would be useful for
hanging things on like wet clothes--bags for stuff--whatever....
Anyway, the point is that making the interior instantly useable
would seem to be very important. And I'm thinking that with
a few people working on this--It would be like putting up tents
that can later be covered with durable concrete held secure with
chicken wire mesh that extends over and under the tarps.
To secure the wire mesh over the tarps that are wired tautly in place--
unroll long rolls of chicken wire that extends over the top of the dome--
the first two lengths of chicken wire would extend over the top while
leaving enough space for the vent at the top.
The chicken wire would be stretched tight and criss cross over the top of the tarps.
The lower ends of the chicken wire would be connected to the lowest rebar ring.
All the other criss-crossing chicken wire could be wired to previous layers of chicken wire--
After the first two lengths of chicken wire are in place over the top of the dome
Then position chicken wire parallel on both sides of each of the doors and windows.
Always pull the CHICKEN wire down tight over the top and secure to the lowest bottom rebar ring under the tarps.
The exterior can be made permanent using concrete mortor over layers of wire mesh (or expanded metal lath).
The exterior can be covered with cement when and if cement and sand become available.
if you do put a thin layer of cement mortor on the exterior,
pour water on the outside every couple of hours and cover the dome with a large tarp to allow for a slow cure.
It the thin layer of concrete dries too fast, the surface could crack and develop leaks.
If two doors are used a partition wall can be placed in the middle of the dome to make duplex dome.
The Birdcage Dome above was built in the country of Burkina Faso in west central Africa.
If you build a Birdcage Dome using these plans, please email us a photo to email@example.com
DO YOU REALIZE THAT EXPOSED TO THE INTERIOR PAINTED REBAR AND COLORFUL TARPS
DO CREATE A LOT OF INTERIOR DESIGN POSSIBILITIES---SUCH AS:
BLANKET PARTITIONS CAN BE HUNG FROM THE REBAR WITH CARE,
IN HOPES THAT A SENSE OF PRIVACY IS CERTAINLY THERE.
THE PAINTED REBAR WEAVES AND CIRCLES UNDER THE APEX VENT,
THE EXTERIOR IS COVERED BY WIRE REINFORCED CEMENT,
WE HAVE CREATED A WIND AND STORM PROOF DOME
A PLACE TO CALL HOME.
CLICK HERE FOR DOME BUILDING SLIDE SHOW--PROCEDURE & POSSIBILITIES CLICK HERE FOR DOME BUILDING STEP-BY-STEP IN ENGLISH & HAITIAN CREOLE
See www.haitidome.com for one example of our efforts to provide low cost homes.
Now if you desire to build a birdcage dome in a climate where it freezes in the winter,
you will need to do some things differently.
Freezing and thawing of the ground can cause unwanted building movement and must be considered in the design.
Also, in climates where it gets very cold in the winter, insulation must be installed inside the concrete shell.
Instead of tarps you could sandwich Reflectix insulation between layers of chicken wire.
If you use rolls of reflextix insulation, put the white side inward and cut the pieces to avoid wrinkles.
Also you could consider using thicker insulation and also plastering the interior.
In a cold climate you may want to consider building a level concrete floor with a perimeter footing per code.
Reinforce the floor and footing with rebar and let the rebar extend upward in 16 places per the plans.
If you wish to have a radiantly heated concrete floor, then the floor must be isolated from the walls.
Two inch "Blue Board" rigid insulation is commonly used in cold climates to insulate a concrete foundation.
There are many alternatives when building in climates with cold winters.
Basically, in cold climates you must either put the bottom of a concrete footing below the frostline.
Or, the perimeter of the building should be supported with a wide base that rests on a river rock mesa base.
Railroad tracks are a good example of heavy weights being supported by a pile of rocks.
If you desire more interior space or a two story dome home,
you may want to consider building with an EconOdome frame kit.
A dome home built with an EconOdome 2x4 wood frame kit can "float" on a rock mesa.
The exterior covering may be made of stucco or ONE OF MANY other POSSIBLE COVERINGS.
Many designs for BOTH the interior and exterior are possible.
For more information:
Phone our office IN SULLIVAN, ILLINOIS AT 1-217-521-9294.
or, SEND EMAIL TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send regular mail to Faze Change Produx, 1331 CR 1470E, Sullivan IL 61951.
CLICK HERE FOR DOME BUILDING STEP-BY-STEP IN ENGLISH & HAITIAN CREOLE
For More Info & Pricing
About & For EconOdome Kits please see---
www.econodome.com OR SEE www.littledomes.com