Lower Calyx dome under construction. All three tile layers are visible. -photos Michael Ramage

St. Margaret's Bay Trust Gardens -photo Luke VoilandSarah Pennal, an English Mason, places tile on the second course. -photo Luke Voiland

James Bellamy worked on all phases of the project, including the rammed earth chalk walls. - photo Michael Ramage

The domes were capped with upward curved oculi. - photo Michael Ramage



Engineering Design Concept: Phil Cooper (Cameron Taylor Bedford, UK)

Detailed design of Domes: John Ochsendorf, Michael Ramage, Wanda Lau (MIT)

Through the summer of 2005, members of the Guastavino research team travelled to St. Margaret's Bay, just four miles north of Dover on the coast of the English Channel to help with the construction of two Guastavino style domes. Michael Ramage, Wanda Lau, Luke Voiland, Meelena Oleksiuk and Prof. John Ochsendorf all worked in conjunction with English and Spanish masons to build these beautiful domes.

The three layered domes were required to support great weight. They will hold a green roof complete with soil, grass and other plants. The design and construction of the domes drew heavily on the Guastavino research completed at MIT.

More information about the Pines Calyx can be found here


Formwork to guide construction. The formwork does not support the tile work, it simply guides the masons work since the tile is self supporting. - photo Luke Voiland

The first course of tile is laid on the ring beam using gypsum mortar (plaster). It sets within seconds, holding the tile in place until axial forces begin to support the tile. -photo Luke Voiland

The the first layer begins to "fly" out over space. Arching action is beginning to support the tiles (from brick face at upper left to ring beam at lower right). - photo Luke Voiland