News25 Investigates


Domed homes in Italy finding popularity during pandemic

Posted at 10:15 AM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 23:50:44-04

ITALY, TX — Since moving to Waco from the Houston area in 2012, Toni and Lynn Wagle have seen a lot of change.

"Buildings going up everywhere and when you drive around right now there are 'now hiring' signs everywhere. So people are just covered in the worst traffic," said Toni.

In their neighborhood, they've seen new "for sale" signs popping up every day. They figure it's folks cashing in on the real estate boom.

Down the street, Martin Sierra figures those who got in over their heads, and with big tax bills to pay, have begun to cash out.

"Houses are going for sale because folks can't really afford the increase and long term, it's just gonna keep on skyrocketing. So they rather just pocket whatever profits they can and then they move to a cheaper neighborhood," Sierra explained.

Cheaper neighborhood? Have you found one? In Waco, even shacks on forgotten streets go for well into the 6-figures.

In some places, it gets more expensive and hard to find every day. But a man in Italy, Texas has an idea you might want to consider.

"So we build buildings out here and many of these buildings, we've then converted into apartments, and it's really been a boom. It really helps people," said Gary Clark, of Monolithic Constructors.

Gary Clark runs Monolithic Constructors, in Ellis County, making everything from churches, to sports arenas, to homes large and small in a dome shape.

"How would this fit in as a solution to our problem," asked 25 New's Dennis Turner.

"Well, it would be a solution for a lot of different ways. Number one, we can build houses as small as these. I can also build stadiums," said Clark.

Years ago, some saw his homes as modern and futuristic but they never really caught on to the point where you see them on every street.

A little 26-acre village along I-35 E gives you an idea of what a community of them might look like.

"What we do is we have interested people around the world. They come here, and we teach them how to build our using our process," said Clark.

Clark found a use for the domes, by assembling this village to show how they last and wear, sort of a test lab to try out new modifications and ideas.

You'll find domes with colorful tiles, some with coverings and others with different textures. They all exhibit different methods of construction and assembly.

You'll find homes, big and small with garages and without. You'll even see a sub-neighborhood of tiny homes.

They don't seem like a bad option, in areas growing as fast as ours.

"Now with Amazon coming in, oh my gosh it's gonna grow exponentially because of that"

And consider this, these homes are among the most durable on the planet.