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As Climate Shocks Multiply, Designers Seek Holy Grail: Disaster-Proof Homes

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Jon duSaint, a retired software engineer, recently bought property near Bishop, Calif., in a rugged valley east of the Sierra Nevada. The area is at risk for wildfires, severe daytime heat and high winds — and also heavy winter snowfall.

But Mr. duSaint isn’t worried. He’s planning to live in a dome.

The 29-foot structure will be coated with aluminum shingles that reflect heat, and are also fire-resistant. Because the dome has less surface area than a rectangular house, it’s easier to insulate against heat or cold. And it can withstand high winds and heavy snowpack.

“The dome shell itself is basically impervious,” Mr. duSaint said.

As weather grows more extreme, geodesic domes and other resilient home designs are gaining new attention from more climate-conscious home buyers, and the architects and builders who cater to them.

The trend could begin to dislodge the inertia that underlies America’s struggle to adapt to climate change: Technologies exist to protect homes against severe weather — but those innovations have been slow to seep into mainstream homebuilding,…

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