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Traditional domes are very strong constructions, with some of them having lasted thousands of years.
A domed roof, as the name suggests, is a roof thats designed in the shape of a dome. By taking the engineering and design principles of the arch and rotating them through a 360 degree radius, a dome shaped roof can be created. Variations of the dome form include cone or onion shapes. Igloos, wigwams and other indigenous structures, as well as geodesic domes, are examples of buildings which use a circular, domed shape, but have indistinct boundaries between the walls and the roof.
One traditionally famous dome-shaped building was the Binishell. These 1960s thin-shelled concrete constructions were circular, and were reinforced using springs andrebar. The originals were installed in many locations around the world, but never achieved the widespread acceptance that many hoped. More recently, the design has been revamped by Nicol Bini, the original designers son, and is again being touted as a potential alternative to more conventional housing.
The dome shape is high on visual impact and in most cases is both strong and durable. For example, the domed roof of the Newgrange crypt in Ireland has lasted for over 5000 years and is still weatherproof. Historically, the dome was first widely used in Ancient Rome, where it lent itself especially well for use in large public or formal spaces.
The curved shape of the dome roof is appealing to look at and experience, both inside and out of the building. Dome roofs also look spectacular when made from copper, which discolours to green with age. Other metals can be used, however these are expensive options for roofing.
A cheaper option is in reinforced concrete domes, which are marketed as quick construction, low cost, energy efficient, space utilising, durable, weather resistant storage and public use buildings. The dome is also favoured by those seeking alternative, energy efficient and windproof homes.
Throughout time, domed roofs have been built from various different materials. Stone, adobe, wood, copper and other metals, plastic, ice, glass, ceramic, fibreglass and concrete have all been used to construct dome roofs.
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