Air-forms are the things that form the exterior shape of the dome. There are many ways to make these forms.
They can be purchased from a few different sources or you can build them yourself. Being pioneers or pretending to be pioneers we have decided to do it by hand! It may not be easier but knowing that we made our own house envelope is a great feeling!
An air-forms can be divided into sections called gores. Its kind of like cutting an orange into sections. To experience it yourself - cut an orange in half (you now have two domes) and then proceed to cut each half into strips (forming individual gores). There you go! Now you are an expert!
Unless you are real good at math and drawing you should rely on your designer or architect to provide the gore patterns. Each different dome size will require different patterns.
We have a total of 7 domes and four different patterns. The garage and shop (1), house great room and private dome (2), kitchen (3)and finally the patio (4).
Workspace is really necessary for this project! We required a 40' table (as well as a room large enough to hold it. We where able to utilize an empty store front. Thanks to our dome builder, Mert Hull.
Build a gore pattern
A good and detailed gore pattern plan is necessary before beginning to build an air-form.
One must layout the pattern onto the pattern material and cut it out.
A smooth edge is vital for a good pattern. The process is repeated for each different sized dome.
Patterns all cut out and ready to be used.
Make the gores
The next step is to lay out the material that will eventually become the air-form. Each dome will have a different number of gores. Each layer of material becomes one gore. WE layed out the number of layers of material based on the particular need of each dome.
Lay the pattern on top of the materials and be certain that there are no wrinkles in the material.
Follow along the pattern edge and cut the materials into the gore shape.

Mountain View Dome Exercise
(distance walked while making our Air-Forms)
Gore Layout Tapping
Dome Gores Length (") 4 trips per 8 trips total (") Total Feet
Shop 26 306.480 31,873.920 63,747.84 95,621.76 7,968.48
Garage 26 320.469 33,328.776 66,657.55 99,986.33 8,332.19
Garage 26 320.469 33,328.776 66,657.55 99,986.33 8,332.19
Patio 29 358.270 41,559.320 83,118.64 124,677.96 10,389.83
Kitchen 23 292.024 26,866.208 53,732.42 80,598.62 6,716.55
Great room 33 368.788 48,680.016 97,360.03 146,040.05 12,170.00
Private dome 33 368.788 48,680.016 97,360.03 146,040.05 12,170.00
Sum 196 2,335.288 264,317.032 528,634.064 792,951.096 66,079.258
Wow us old guys are sure getting our exercise!!!
3/14/03 We are down to one air-form to complete! Just have to finish up the patio and we are ready!
3/24/2003 WOW! All seven air-forms folded and ready to go!
Interested in knowing how to build your own air-form?
Check out our book! Printed in color with many photos Illustrating the process of building air-forms.
It includes contributors like Jim Kaslik (Cloud Hidden), Mert Hull and Lloyd turner.

Click here to order your copy of Building Your Own Air-Form

Its ready to go! (finally!)