The Houston Dome Will Save the City from “Peril”, May Help Environment

June 9, 2009 / 22 Comments

Houston Dome – The fourth-largest city in the United States and the largest city in Texas, Houston is vulnerable to killer hurricanes, extreme heat and other natural disasters. And the problem is only getting worse as the city is forced to spend a fortune in a losing battle against nature. Hence why a team of engineers decided that the most viable solution for the moment is to “move the city indoors”.

houston dome The Houston Dome Will Save the City from Peril, May Help Environment

The Houston Dome is supposed to protect the city from category-5 hurricanes

The Houston Dome surface area will stretch over 21 million sq ft, which will make it the biggest structure with the largest roof in the world. The dome’s panels will be 15 ft across, with over 147,000 to cover the city of Houston. The only problem would be that using glass or plexiglass would make the whole structure extremely heavy.

But the answer comes from German city of Bremen, from a company dubbed Vector Foil. Vector Foil manufactures an innovative strong, lightweight, transparent polymer known as ethylene tetra fluoro ethylene (ETFE). At just one percent of glass, ETFE is described as 99 percent nothing. And considering that it can withstand winds of 180 miles per hour, it could be the breakthrough for the Houston Dome.

Designed to protect a city from a category-5 hurricane, the Houston Dome raises other problems related to actually building the structure. It will take years and billions of dollars, but would it be worth it?

Sources: Huliq and Discovery


  • Patriot_Woman

    This will go right along with the cap & trade bill, this way they can charge you for breathing oxygen. What was that movie Mad Max? Where they turned off the air supply to an indoor city??
    Come On all you Cowboys, are you REALLY going to take this??
    My great Grandfather going back 9 generations WAS Sam Houston I wonder what HE would say about this??

  • David

    Wow, i think this city needs something to put it back on the map. Something this crazy would bring tourism and would be the new 8th wonder of the world.

    Plus our President loves to waist money, let his waist some on this!

  • DomeBoy

    I’ve got a Houston Dome in my pants!

  • Jonathan

    If houston the CITY pays for it itself, then I see no problem with it. Lack of rain might be an issue, but the drop in heat would make up for it.

    Thought it says it can withstand a hurricane, I think it would need testing to make sure it can handle the worst possible situation. Otherwise, the dome FALLING on people may be worse than the problem it was supposed to save them from.

    I like the idea of at least one or two cities with domes or other protective structures. But not just from heat, ozone issues, but from a survivalist standpoint. Humanity needs atleast a few “insulated” cities/places to survive a global cataclysmic event. This could protect from volcanic ash, meteoric debris, and prepare a city to use it’s own air supply, etc.

    In the event Earth became inhabitable, the domes might actually be able to survive if modified for that purpose.

    If we’d stop wasting trillions on healthcare and social security, that is. But humans care too much about their own lives. They’ll just keep on wasting money on welfare and on keeping 90 year olds on life support. I foresee global slavery in the future, so who needs to worry about the environment? Everyone is in debt about $30k and rising. The banks are growing, but are a destructive economic element. Why? Because banks provide no service or product. They don’t create what humans need (clothes, food, shelter) or what humans want (luxuries), they only create debt slaves, and hire millions of employees who do nothing but drain the rest of us. And people wonder why the economy is screwed up. US banks alone now have over $650 trillion in debt owed to them, and the interest earned annually is soon to exceed global GDP. How can banks earn more interest than the entire world’s income? The “Fractional Reserve Banking” (look it up) global scam which has made everyone enslaved with debt from non-existent money loaned to them (and due to the inflation, FRB causes in real estate and other areas, people HAVE to get loans to afford anything).

    The final nail in the coffin: Cap and Trade, should help ensure economic destruction of the lower and middle classes (as energy costs rise dramatically). Of course, if you want to cut CO2, you have to kill all the humans and cows. Humans breathe out more CO2 than all cars combined. Cows emit more greenhouse gases than all trains, cars, airplanes, and boats combined. But of course Al Gore won’t tell his liberal buddies to go out and shoot cows.

    Life isn’t the problem. CO2 is the “emission” of ALL LIVING LIFE. Even trees emit CO2, they only “hold in” CO2, but when they die, they will have actually EMITTED more CO2 because of their existence.

    I’m with anyone who says to stop methane (cows emit poison), and other gases, but leave CO2 out of it.

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  • spobk

    What about surroundings of the dome? What happened if in the time of working on the structure appears a hurricaine?

  • Jerem

    I just want to own the window washing company….lol

  • Thror

    I don’t think this is doable to begin in. Second, even if it is possible is it a good thing? Helicopter and planes won’t enter, rain won’t enter, pollution won’t leave, it will deprive the habitants of seeing the sky and it’s a great target to terrorist attacks.
    People keep saying that investing in the enviromnent is too costly and engineering impossible and then go around and spend billions on this?

  • nik

    What this article doesn’t explain is the mechanical side to the dome. To my knowledge, this dome is suppose to have an air filtration effect. There will be large vents along the bottom as well as the top of the dome so air is absorbed and released, as well as pollutants.

    If this dome ends up being a success, I believe this is our future. But if its a failure its only a matter of time until someone suggests something similar, or perfects it.

    If you are really interested, you should research Buckminster Fuller, he perfected the dome, as a structural element.

  • Mike

    … Even assuming such structure is physically possible (I still have my doubts, despite the space-age polymer) there’s no way it would solve more problems than it creates. How frequently will the dome require maintenance, and at what cost? How much energy will be required to replace the airflow and rainfall that no longer enters the city? The dome looks like it will be a giant greenhouse; how much extra energy will be required to cool the city, and will everyone be cooked alive if that system fails one hot Texas summer? How would it be built in the first place without an unacceptable interruption of the local economy? It’s giving me a headache just thinking about it.

  • Mike

    Well the discovery link explains a plausible scenario for construction and climate management, I guess the biggest obstacles are money and psychology. Mostly money.

  • Mike M

    There will certainly be a lot of discussion to this. Venting is a given for pressure regulation to assist in the structural integrity of the dome. The framework is being reported that it will be almost invisible from within, when looking up to the highest parts. I am curious as to the potential benefit of reflectivity of the ETFE. Will this or can this be made to help reflect heat back up? If so, this could greatly reduce the current greenhouse effect that the city now produces. If this is successful, this model could also be repeated in many other locations and Al Gore’s projections of the Earth’s temperature rising could be reduced, thereby saving the Artic and Antartic. While this is a hugely speculative comment…in theory, it seems quite possible.
    CO2 emissions within the dome probably would not rise as some are commenting here. I believe that with the indoor climate being stabilized, there would be a greatly reduced need for vehicles within the dome. regulation could be made for electric vehicles or even bicycles and such, being the only vehicles allowed inside. CO2 emissions levels then would actually be reduced. I wonder though, that the sheer size of this dome that it might actually allow clouds and condensation to form inside the dome.

  • Prune

    I think it’s a fascinating concept and I love technology even more now. However, everyone is speaking of the construction and atmospheric changes on these posts. My concern would be human life as in medical. How will our bodies adjus? What about people that have sever allergies to plastics or anything odd like? Plus, would this change our bodies in general? Could this block out agents our bodies are use to that fight off infections? So many questions. Yet, I guess it all boils down to the actual experimental act. One will never know unless we give it a try. Hmm… I don’t even think the biggest of domes, the biggest of bubbles could actually stop the physical act of God… Mother Nature and so on. Hmmm? So much to think of!

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  • jason hen

    This has got to be THE dumbest shit I’ve ever seen in my life! Did they take a census vote on who wanted this done in the first place?? I know if I was a Houston resident I’d LEAVE…that’s why I love living in Dallas. Shit would never happen here!

  • Zarkinprude

    Hmmm… Build 3 mile dome to cover a 601 square mile city? How does that make sense? The city limits cover 601 square miles not to mention the greater Houston area which covers several hundred more, all quite densely populated. And the skyscrapers downtown are not what anyone should be concerned about saving from hurricanes. Millions of people have homes/businesses to protect in this region and that makes up the greater cost of any disaster here.

    I’m all for building huge neat-lookin stuff that pushes the boundaries of technology. But the arguments being made for the necessity of this project simply don’t hold water. It would be neat to see but costly and useless.

  • http://www.michaelmosack.com Mike M

    From Columbus’ idea to sail, Horseless carridges, Wright Brothers flight in Ohio and men in space among so many others… if we stop looking for and embracing new ideas and technologies, we will surely become extinct ourselves. The human race is rapidly growing to the point that we will soon run out of resources and available land. We keep making babies and the population grows. There will come a time when the Earth will no longer be able to sustain us and therefore, we need to continually look to new ideas, no matter how far fetched they may seem at first.

    To sit back and point fingers complaining how stupid an idea is, is the only useless path. Step up and add to the conversation and bring your own and better idea to the table. Will this work? I don’t know. Colonizing the moon? Don’t know that either…but it seems that the way to go is to continually explore every possibility so that we as a race, can continue to survive. Until then, we have to want to be as good to the earth as it has been to us for thousands of years. I am not considered a “tree hugger” but it is not the time to stop trying to find new and innovative ways to help our environment and that starts at home.

    Loved the comment about how this would never happen in Dallas :) Have you checked with Jerry Jones about that recently?? One never knows what he’s planning to build next :)

  • smiley

    I live in the Houston City limits, but outside of DT and the Galleria area (Up-town). SInce MOST of the Houston population lives in the Suburban parts of town the dome would not cut down on emmission because the same number of people would still be driving into DT for work. Also, if there is a natural disaster (flood, hurricane, etc) the local, state, & Federal gov will still have millions (or billions) to pay in damages from the surrounding areas.

    I don’t think people proposing this project realise how large Houston City limits are. I live 15 miles from DT and I am still well within the city limits- why wont I get protection from the dome. My taxes will be paying for it just as much as the few Houstonians living in it.

  • John

    If the dome stops burgers getting to all you american fatty’s then its definitely worth it.

  • Denz

    Its really a mega project endeavor, once its completed it will be a tourist attraction in Houston, just wonder how much money will be infuse for this kind of project. From time to time they will need to change the glass for its maintenance. Will this be a no fly zone for aircrafts and choppers? For those people who knows how to work on this kind of project, hope all of you can discover working on a city Force Field , maybe these scientist or engineers could derive ideas from movies or animation cartoons on this , if they could think of then before, probably its kind of possible and doable…….

  • stephanie

    i dont think it would be a good idea. for one the government would kill all the poor and keep the rich. so think of that. according to what one person said up here he is all for the rich. sounds selfish to me.

  • LA Smogman

    Houston will take over Los Angeles as the smoggiest place in the USA. LA is smoggy because car/industrial pollution linger over without strong wind to push stale air away. Houston plans to trap smog.