Living In A Sphere In The Sky

Wow. Looking to live off the grid in style? [Jono Williams] just finished off his rather ambitious Skysphere project.

Using industrial materials (is that highway lamp post tower?), [Jono] designed and built his ultimate apartment tower out in the country. Kind of looks like a futuristic outlook or security post — something straight out of that [Tom Cruise] flick, Oblivion.

The project has been in the works for years, and [Jono] estimates its taken about 3000 hours so far — not to mention $50,000 USD in building materials. It’s solar powered, Android controlled, has a fingerprint scanner at the door, an integrated beer fridge in the couch, RGB LED lighting, WiFi, a stargazing platform, a custom queen size bed, his own AI voice, wireless sound, and automated heat management! 

Sadly, it’s missing a bathroom — and you’ll be stuck using a hotplate in the non-existent kitchen. He plans on putting an outhouse nearby, but we can’t imagine you being able to live in this thing 24/7 — it looks like a fantastic weekend retreat though.

For more information you can check out his Facebook page for future updates of the project — and maybe version 2.0.

[Thanks for the tip Ed Monkey!]

79 thoughts on “Living In A Sphere In The Sky

        1. Even if it was, the impact that would have on mitigating heat transfer would still be fairly low. It’s like putting up sound insulation in the form of fiberglass insulation and then expecting it to mitigate deep bass one room over.

        2. The window isn’t red, it’s clear. The red comes from the LED lighting inside. As for temperature, on his facebook account he points out that it does get warm but the upper door automatically opens and closes to allow a level of temperature regulation.

  1. looks like someone beat me to the idea of converting an old water tower.
    No reason you couldn’t plumb in a bathroom and a small septic field, or use one of those composting toilets
    that the fringers are all excited about. No kitchen too, so lots of grilling on the skydeck. It is kind of small for full time living also.
    I guess it’s like having a dorm room in college, except with the ultimate view!

        1. In the interest of survival, or for removing pest and invasive species as part of a greater overall conservation effort, many measures you’d consider “non-sporting” are encouraged, acceptable, and actually quite fun. I speak as a guy whose used his AR-15 to clear a decent swath of land of wild hogs that were threatening local wildlife due to their aggressive breeding and feeding methods.

          1. If it’s sealed, no smell. Fecal matter is actually alkaline and urine has a pH of 6.2 or so. Steel would have issues long term but if you had a plastic enclosure, that *could*, in theory work. But there are many better solutions out there that are commercially available or at least well researched and tested.

    1. i personally would hate to have to climb down a ladder to take a dump. he could probibly run a septic pipe externally or perhaps behind the ladder if there is space. if there is a lot of rain there id consider a roof top rain collector (would certainly work here in se alaska), water could be filtered and stored in a holding tank until needed. of course it would mean sacrificing your deck space.

      1. The platform isn’t very large. Having a toilet inside would rob something like a quarter of the useable space, and it would be super awkward having guests over – like having a party in a public lavatory while people are using the stalls.

      1. I saw:
        -heat forming, aka “flame bending”, with oxyacetylene(an obscure skill to possess even among welders)
        -solar panel design
        -mechanical or civil engineering
        -architecture
        -woodworking
        -painting
        -custom furniture/upholstery
        -Android app development

        Seems to me like we have ourselves a modern day renaissance man.

        Found his “bio”:
        http://www.theskysphere.com/p/about-me.html#.Vc99_bJViko

        Answers the question: “Who was that eccentric jack of all trades?”

        1. Don’t forget zoniing (if applicable), electrical, sourcing industrial raw materials (somebody had to find that thing, bring it there and erect it on a proper foundation) and the sheer desire and time necessary to complete this. Plus the opportunity cost of doing something else. I still maintain it needs at least a septic system and a better electrical “grid” or source and maybe even some hydroponics too.

          Assuming this person of varied skills desires employment, what I don’t necessarily understand though is what type of employer would actually value this specific set of knowledge/experience/drive/desire exactly?

          1. People in the building maintenance trade have to posses many of those same skills just to keep their jobs. They need to be plumbers, electricians, audio technicians, welders, roofers, woodworkers, masons, and a hundred other things. At least that was my experience for the 15 years that I did it.
            So there’s at least one trade where such a skill set would be valuable/desirable.

          2. I acknowledge the need to have a wide variety of general “building related” skills there. But building maintenance isn’t generally considered to be that lucrative of a profession though?

        2. Throw out solar panel design because his is terrible, very inefficient. I would also toss out architecture since it lacks a bathroom or easy access. This is a cabin and not a home.

        3. I imagine the foundations took a fair amount of work. There’s gonna be a LOT of sideways force where that thing meets the ground.

          The Japanese invented a way to earthquake-proof buildings, it involves a mechanism on an upper floor with a gigantic weight, on motorised rails. A computer slides the weight out of phase with the earthquake, absorbs a good few points of Richter scale.

          Probably not practical here. But still cool.

  2. Converted water towers for homes have been around since at least 1970 when I met a person in San Francisco that lived in one. When I used to read architecture magazines round houses on pedestals in the 70’s were common – then there was some meat head that built a round house on a central tower in California – but built it on a slope that was not stable – so he just put jacking screws to level out the house as it slowly slid down the hill every year

    1. There is a converted water tower that’s a getaway rental in Seal Beach California I believe, right there on highway… 1 or 101, whatever runs right through Seal Beach.

      There is pedastal based round house where I grew up, by the lake that used to rotate to catch or avoid the sun until the motor siezed up sometime in the early 80’s. The pedestal was then walled in to build a first floor.

      I lived in a house built right into a bluff overlooking a valley. To leave the house we had to climb to the upper floor to get out the front door.

      Houses with doors on both the 1st and 2nd floor (to avoid diggng after a snowstorm). Houses with central courtyards where beach sand is allowed to drift in. A house that sits out on a rock in the middle of the river. Easy to get to when the river is low, but when the river rises, you have no choice but to ride a boat out there. Hearst, Winchester, I could go on and on.

      I thought such “silly” structures were the norm until I started going to high school and started seeing what “normal” codified houses looked like. Quite frankly they’re boring as hell and I wouldn’t wish such boring as structures on anybody.

      Kudos to him for building something interesting, even with its flaws.

    1. See, I don’t see the sport in high-powered rifle vs panicky herbivore. To make it fair you should have to chase down the deer and strangle it. Otherwise where’s the achievement?

        1. I was thinking basically a drainpipe. You could “use” a bucket if you can’t bring yourself to actually interface with the pipe.

          Have it sloped, leading into a pit, near some bushes you don’t really give a shit about. Rinse down one’s waste with water. Problem solved. Should be fine if he’s not gonna live there full-time.

          The pipe needs a cap on the top to keep air from blowing up through it, as well as the odd rat.

  3. Solar powered/fingerprint door, what could go wrong? If I would live offgrid, I will take the minimalist way with a mechanical door lock. Great project anyway, I’m very impressed

    1. Have a mechanical lock as well. The electronic actuator just pulls away the bit that the mechanical bolt slides into. Same way many buildings’ intercom door opener works. Long-solved problem.

    1. Hell yeah!

      It’s a fantastic achievement. One thing I don’t see the point of, and it’s not just this guy, but RGB lighting. Who ever wants a room lit in anything but white? I use the light in my house to see with, sometimes read. White is a good colour for that.

  4. Check out his website, while it is cool in overall scope, the work itself is somewhat less exciting than that done by high schoolers with tutorials and architecture software.

    His previous construction appears to break all the rules of tree-friendly tree houses as well – IE boards nailed to the tree, using the tree as a major structural element, etc. It still looks very cozy and appealing inside, and neat outside.. But still, it isnt in the same league as the many sophisticated treehouse and re-purposed structures designs.

    1. As far as the “work” goes, he gets 99% of the credit for actually building the thing. I’d rather explore his house than see an endless procession of well-designed CAD files.

    1. A lightning rod’s secondary function is sending electrons up to the sky to dissipate charge. Would there be a point to doing that in a lone structure in the middle of nowhere? Or does it only help when lots of buildings are doing it? Does it create a local area of less-ionised air that helps keep lightning bolts away?

      As for the primary function, carrying current away from the main structure, does that matter? It’s a giant thick steel pole anyway. It’s probably better at lightning conducting than a copper strip would be. Might be a copper strip would make no difference. Might be that, without a pointy collector, the round top of the thing is less attractive to lightning. So he might be better off without one.

      The “sphere” part ought to help bypass the more delicate parts of the house.

      1. You can believe that if you want to but I feel that you don’t know what you are messing with when it comes to lightning. I’ll probably be reading about it on the news some day.

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