Re: thoughts on domes and markets



Shane,

In my experience in the dome industry, there is really only one barrier,
and that is a low market "pull."  The construction, forest products,
building materials, remodeling, real estate, banking and insurance
industries all have supported domes and prospective dome owners to some
extent.  It is now a matter of creating a market that pulls domes into
existance.

The simple fact is that most people won't try things that they are
completely unfamiliar with.  When we build a dome, there has been some
substantial education in the process.  The owner has educated themselves
and knows that a dome is a perfectly habitable, in fact superior, living
structure.  Until this becomes common knowledge, domes will continue to
be a niche market.

Consider the case of log homes.  They have been built for hundreds of
years, but they have just recently gained mass acceptance to the point
where, if it hasn't happened already, I expect we'll see log home
subdivisions and developers doing log homes on spec.

Given some time, hopefully not as long as log homes took, domes will
follow the same pattern.  We've seen consistantly growing sales oner the
last several years which bodes well, and the dome development may only
be a couple of years away (we almost had it last year, but the land fell
through).

Shane McKelvey wrote:
> 
> It seems to me that there are a couple of major barriers thwarting the
> dome as a mass market form of housing.
> First, the forest products, building materials, construction &
> remodeling trades, real estate, insurance, banking, retailing and
> other interests, not to forget the bureaucracies that tax and regulate
> all this, have a solid interest in keeping things exactly as they are.
> 
> Second, there is a marked lack of interest in the mass market for dome
> and other lightweight, efficient housing alternatives. Talk to friends
> and family (who are not "dome-ies")and ask them if they would like to
> live in a dome structure of some sort. Typically, the answer is some
> variation of "absolutely not". While most people can accept the appeal
> of domes in an intellectual sense, they cannot think of them as
> "houses". To most people a house is a heavy, rectilinear structure
> made of wood or masonry, sitting on a foundation in a tract of nearly
> identical structures and it will resemble (at the developers peril)
> exactly what the prospective buyer grew up in or has been conditioned
> to want through the relentless selling of the American Dream.
> 
> To me, this market conservatism and not government/industry opposition
> are the real problem. When a sufficient number of people want to live
> in dome-house neighborhoods, the other obstacles will begin to melt
> away.
> 
> Enough design and engineering work has been done to show the
> practicality of domes. What suggestions can the readers of this list
> offer to address the issue of impacting the mass market?
> 
> 
> 
> ==
> Shane M...Portland, Oregon USA
> "We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities."
> POGO -Walt Kelly
> 
> _________________________________________________________
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-- 
Thanks,

Nathan Burke,
Oregon Dome, Inc.

E-mail:  oregon at domes dot com
Web:  http://www.domes.com
Address:  3215 Meadow Lane, Eugene OR  97402
Fax:  (541) 689-9275
Phone:  (800) 572-8943 or (541) 689-3443





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