The Dome structures are made of two integral layers: a concrete frame that serves as a base layer and an aluminum frame over the concrete that holds the glass in place. The two layers are connected by steel plates built into the concrete frames that attach to connector hubs in the aluminum frames. The concrete frame directly supports the aluminum and glass frame; the aluminum frame is not self-supporting. The only way to remove the concrete would be to dismantle each Dome, removing and storing the plant collections during construction, and replace the entire two-layer concrete and aluminum framing system. While the concrete frame structure is not failing, the constant leakage from the windows is causing the surface to age and the edges at the connector plates to spall or chip, leading to the falling concrete observed inside each Dome. Please refer to the January 2015 GRAEF report
for a complete description of the situation. To learn more about the Domes construction, visit the Friends of the Domes website to watch a video
that shows how the Domes were built.
The concrete frame supporting the aluminum frame and windows (view from inside the Domes; the concrete frame is in the foreground; the aluminum and glass frame can be seen beyond the concrete)
The glass and aluminum frame sitting atop the concrete frame (view from outside the Domes; the aluminum frame holding the glass is in front; the concrete supporting frame is visible through the glass)