Tornado no match for dome homes, contractor says

Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 8:57 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala, (WBRC) - They look like something from the future. Unusual looking houses, shaped in odd ways, but the man who started it all says they were designed that way for a purpose - to protect us from strong tornadoes.

You can find a handful of them at the corner of University Boulevard and 17th Avenue East, all looking strange, but John Johnson isn’t necessarily going for curb appeal. He sees his creation as a life-saver.

“There are four here. Each unit with four bedrooms and four baths,” said Johnson.

John Johnson makes no guarantees the dome homes won’t sustain any cosmetic damage in a tornado, but stands by his claim the guts of it all, the structure will withstand a powerful storm.

“The curves deflect the winds,” he said.

It’s all in the design. Starting with the cupula that crowns the homes, and the sharp corners of the walls and what’s behind the walls.

“Mine has a two-by-six on each side bolted and nailed together and everyone of them is rated for 250 mph winds,” he said.

John Johnson says this is his mission, one that started 50 years ago, although he didn’t realize it at the time.

“In all honestly, I got interested in domes by reading science fiction and reading at an incredible rate since I was in the sixth grade. A picture is worth a thousand words,” Johnson said.

Johnson shared with us a photo of a similar type home that lost a few shingles, but a house that clearly took the beating from a tornado and won.

The homes at University Boulevard and 17th are either for sale or will be rented out. Jimmy Falls and his wife are looking at the possibility of having one built on their property.

“This place is really strong and built for the wind,” said Jimmy Falls.

As workmen mix in the concrete for the sidewalks, John Johnson is convinced this is the path for strong protection against a strong tornado, something Alabama sees all too often and sometimes with tragic results.

John Johnson declined to say how much the homes sell for, but added they’re about 25% less than than your typical three or four bedroom house.


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