Editor’s note: On May 14, Dome Technology celebrated the 80th birthday of founder Barry South, pictured here second from left with his sons. Below is a brief history on how Barry and his brothers developed the idea of dome construction and how their experience led to the creation of Dome Technology.
The South brothers grew up in east Idaho. In their early 20s, Barry and Randy operated a sawmill in Island Park, and David left for work in Chicago, where he learned about urethane insulation. Intrigued by its insulative properties, he moved home and enlisted the help of Barry and Randy in working a urethane business. Most of their work comprised of insulating potato storages.
In the first five years, the brothers pursued potato storage because they knew customers and were adept at spraying urethane. They chose a 105-foot diameter dome as their go-to model, reusing an airform—the fabric membrane that gives a dome its shape—and building all 12 domes with a single skin that had to be carefully removed for every new project.
Dome Technology was officially created in 1975 with the three brothers at the helm. David and Barry were awarded a patent for the dome model of construction in 1979.
“At the beginning, we were under the impression this is a brand-new thing and a lot of people are going to want to buy. That didn’t last too long. People are reluctant to be the first to do something new,” Barry said.
It took at least 10 years for Barry to be convinced the dome would have staying power in the marketplace, and that decision was made based on customer feedback.
Today’s domes are sophisticated monoliths that can withstand harsh climates and have an indefinite lifespan. The brothers now own individual businesses—David operates Monolithic.org; Randy runs South Industries in Menan, Idaho; and Barry stayed with Dome Technology. Three of Barry’s sons are part of the executive team today.
For more information on our company’s history, in particular about noteworthy projects, visit our About page.