Saturday, December 29, 2012

Retirement Home

There is no denying that my parents are older now than they were a few years ago. Bifocals and presbyopia are dinner conversation, and hikes are shorter, particularly following my mother's bunionectomy (what a word). Names are shouted across the house, and they are not always heard.

After witnessing my father's deafness in one instance to my mother's calling of his name from several large rooms away, I remarked to O., "When we get old, let's live in a little house so that we never have to shout for each other."

"How about a dome house?" O. suggested.

I had never heard of such a thing in real life. O. described to me a geodesic dome house with a wooden frame, but he was fuzzy on the details. An internet search was soon mounted, quickly leading us to a website for an entirely different sort of dome house: one manufactured by a Japanese company and made from "the fourth generation building material: expanded polystyrene!" You can watch the promo videos, hilariously dubbed in a lovely Australian accent, on the company's website, but a better viewing experience can be had courtesy of Youtube. Embedded below:

This is the house of the future! That is, my future. I hope they are still making these things when O. and I are ready to retire. We'd like the "tow dome" construction, please.

I doubt these houses will catch on in the U.S., but I can imagine them doing well in Japan, as illustrated in the 480 dome village in the video. Having lived in Japan, I recognize a thousand subtle Japanese influences and assumptions in the design--most obviously, the compactness of it. What American would call a 44 sq. meter dome "really spacious"? These dome houses made me nostalgic for the world of my childhood, a vaguely remembered Japan.

Anyway, I seriously am interested in living in a dome house someday. This looks way more convenient than a treehouse, and almost as cool.

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