The more commonly visible dome in India is the hemispherical form. Given the need for the lines of force to move outwards, this form requires thick supporting walls and a consequent heavy utilization of building material.

The CATENARY form designed to optimize the use of gravity and minimize the horizontal thrust, ensures that the lines of force follows a path requiring minimum support and a resulting saving of building material.

No steel or cement has been used for the construction of the shell. As a result, total construction cost of this structure has worked out to Rs. 40/- as compared to the conventional flat roof RCC cost of approximately RS 350/- per square foot of covered area. This cost has also been possible due to the twin benefits accruing from construction methods that avoid the use of expensive internal formwork and an ancient Indian mortar based on lime waste (bagra).

Two Types Of Domes : -

Construction of a dome more hemispherical in character [See right photograph] requires pillar and arch thickness of approximately 30/36 inches to ensure that the lines of force of the dome fall within their width.

On the other hand construction of a catenary dome [see left photograph] requires pillars and arches of only 9 inches. Each pillar of 18 inches width will support two adjacent dome edges.

Similarly the width of the foundation is also greatly reduced in the case of the catenary form of construction.

With Nature's Help Building Techniques
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