Decadomes™ are strong, comfortable, low-cost shelters built of identical panels continuously connected along their edges by connectors. Panels can be made of many different kinds of materials: plywood, plastic, foam-core, jute straw or rice husk.


Decadome�: Safe, secure, comfortable, low-cost housing comprised of identical panels continuously connected along their edges with connectors.  Panels  can be manufactured from a variety of materials--plywood, plastic, or composites of jute straw, rice husk and resin.  Connectors may also be made of different materials--plastic, wood,  or sheet metal. The  crystalline shape  creates a very high strength-to-weight ratio, and aerodynamic qualities. Vertical walls maximize floor space and allow use of standard doors and windows.   Decadomes� can be assembled on a prepared site in approximately one hour with hand tools.

Download a 3D Interactive PDF  to build a virtual DecaDome in Adobe Reader... Components can be rotated, zoomed, shown or hidden.

DecaDome technical documents can also be viewed and downloaded:

Visit for more information.
View "decadome demonstration" on Youtube.
See also:

The Challenge also requires, besides shelter, that the house provide access to electricity and water.  It would be easy to embed a small solar cell into one of the south-facing roof panels.  This could provide enough electricity to power a radio and  charge a small battery for an LED light in the evening. There are currently several international projects to do just this such as Lighting Africa (  The challenge to supply clean drinking water can also use the PV panel to power a UV water purifier.  There is now at least one battery operated 6 volt portable UV water purifier on the market for less than $50.00 US.  Several families could pool resources for one unit.  It takes 90 seconds to purify one liter of water.  I don't know the life of the bulb, but this is an incredibly effective tool.   In some climates, rainwater may be collected from roof run-off. 

Though not a part of this contest, we believe that the best human waste treatment system is the composting toilet. The Resource institute for Low Entropy Systems ( has been building low-cost composting toilets in the developing world for years. 

The Four Questions:

1. Definition of the customer problems?

Billions in poverty have limited access to affordable shelter that provides security, privacy and dignity. That limited access marginalizes the poor into a  cycle of poverty that offers little hope, inspiration or opportunity to enjoy  society's benefits. Survival is often a 24hr/day struggle for the poor, consuming all their resources, energy and time.

2. How does the design address the customer pain points?

DecaDome technology brings secure housing quickly, easily and affordably; allowing residents to care for their families and apply more of their time and  resources toward exiting of the cycle of poverty. 

We have seen other low-cost building methods fail when construction is interrupted by the demands of life in poverty... exposed materials can rapidly  degrade, workers may fail to return, tools and materials get stolen. Conversely,  a DecaDome can be inhabited and secured the same day it is erected, providing  security to the premises and residents. Additional features can be integrated by  residents after the structure is assembled: e.g. Stucco exterior, various roofing treatments,  interior lofts, etc.

3. What elements of the design are innovative?

DecaDome innovations include rapid manufacturing with near-zero waste and lower cost. Standard building materials can be used or materials can be substituted to  accommodate local and regional resources. 

Identical parts keep production, inventory, distribution and assembly simple, straightforward and incredibly fast: Two workers with simple tools and minimal  instruction can assemble a basic DecaDome in a few hours - unlike many building  methods that require large groups of workers, training and supervision, heavy  equipment, repeated cure cycles, etc.

The design highly is scalable: Scaling in physical size, all angles and proportions and part-counts remain the same regardless of panel size...  similarly, the design scales easily in production and distribution: manufacturing can begin at the village level with basic carpentry tools (table-saw, circular saw,  screwdriver, tape-measure ) - large scale manufacturing can be fully automated with continuous-flow production lines.  Distribution: units can be hand carried or large quantities can ship flat in containers. Assembly: as few as two workers per unit permits numerous crews assembling units simultaneously. 

4. What are the approximate cost of the house?

A basic DecaDome built from lumber and 1/2" plywood costs  <$350USD... the cost is much less when wholesale/oem prices are available.

Retail pricing in US: 
15 sheets 1/2" cdx  - $12/ea 
13 pcs 2x4 @ 10'lumber - $3/ea
20 pcs 2x4 @ 8' lumber - $2/ea
Hardware - $25
Screen - $5
Paint - $25
Rebar - $10
Adhesives - 5
Sealants - 20


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