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Lake Geneva architect says his buildings withstand tornadoes

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Lake Geneva architect says his buildings withstand tornadoes

By Tom Murray. CREATED May 22, 2013

LAKE GENEVA - After seeing the devastation in Oklahoma, veteran architect D. Thomas Kincaid wanted to tell us about a building design he contends could survive a tornado.

In his Lake Geneva home, Kincaid showed TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray renderings and plans for monolithic domes. Essentially, they are upside down concrete bowls reinforced with steel.

"Monolithic means one. We're talking about one piece as opposed to millions of pieces," Kincaid said.

Kincaid and other advocates say the solid construction and dome shape make them safer. A quick search online and we found monolithic dome schools, churches, offices and even homes.

"Hitting a [flat] surface like this, it's going to be a lot more damaging than one that would be curved," Kincaid said.

Kim Dale Hassell with Plunkett Raysich Architects in Milwaukee says dome layouts are often not practical. While domes may endure powerful winds, they cannot deflect debris.

"There are other factors," Hassell said. "We've all seen the video of 2x4s driven through solid concrete walls. That's the force pack behind it. There aren't two many materials that will withstand that kind of force."

Wisconsin school districts have considered monolithic domes. Just last month, Johnson Creek voters rejected a plan to build school complex that would have included five such domes.