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The Domes Next Door

The Domes Next Door

I (Bethany) met siblings Zach and Jess during the most recent ASLE conference. Zach and I were both presenting on ‘Experimental Ecologies,’ and as we chatted before the panel started, I could tell we were cut from the same cloth. I was blown away as Zach presented on the domes he and Jess were constructing in Mendocino County. In addition to centering eco-minded living and creative thinking, Zach and Jess set out to design a building that “combines insights from the vast history of curved architecture with advanced materials, organic aesthetics, and creative uses of space and energy” (Dome Building). Their project imagines a space for dreaming, conversing, and making. It imagines what architecture 250 years in the future might look like, require, and consider. It is constructed communally and prioritizes communal use in the future. Read more about the domes here.

Soon after the conference wrapped, I packed up and joined the Hortons for a few days at the domes.

I was one of many who showed up to help during the summer work session. Zach and Jess take time off during their winter and summer breaks to work on their project, and friends come from far and wide to assist. We dug trenches, moved gravel, and ran wires. We also talked climate change, eco-futures, and experimental architecture. This is ecocriticism in action. This is art in action. This is what it looks like to live for the present and the future.


Jessica Horton is Associate Professor of Art History the University of Delaware, focusing on contemporary American and Native North American art history, incorporating interdisciplinary theories of space, globalization, diplomacy, and ecology.

Zach Horton is Assistant Professor in English at the University of Pittsburgh, focusing on the intersection of technological mediation, ecology, and scale. He is a media, literature, and technology scholar, as well as a filmmaker.

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