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Geodesic Domes : Your Next Dome’s Here

Our cutting-edge domes on CBS hit series, NCIS Hawaii


Geodesic domes have become an increasingly popular form of living and storage. The unique geodesic design makes the domes more structurally sound than other buildings. A geodesic design minimizes the cost because the entire design was made with the express intent of using the least amount of materials possible to gain the greatest effect. While the idea for these structures is quite complex, which is why they are still relatively new and did not start being built until the 1900s, the overall shape of the domes is extraordinarily simple and because of that, they are easy for anyone to set up by themselves. DIY geodesic domes have been turned into homes, greenhouses, and storage centers depending on people’s needs. The panels can be either opaque or see-through and can be made with a variety of materials. The design allows people to replace singular panels with different materials, such as glass for windows.

History of Geodesic Domes

Humans have been living in dome-shaped homes for thousands of years and as human history has evolved, so has the history of geodesic domes. The shape is simple, structurally sound, and can be built using only basic tools. The dome shape is also extremely versatile so indigenous people from around the world were able to create dome-shaped homes from whatever materials they had available to them in their region. Due to domes being some of the first structures humans were capable of making themselves, they soon became heavily integrated into many religious practices as well. 

As time progressed and humans continued to experiment with a multitude of different shapes and designs for houses there were eventually hundreds of different housing designs to choose from each fairing better than others in certain climates. It became a mission to develop a design that could be adapted to all climates. It was not until recently that geodesic domes were invented in 1926 by R. Buckminster Fuller. The goal of inventing DIY geodesic domes was to create a structure with maximized structural integrity while minimizing the amount of materials and pieces used. Unlike other domes, this design allows them to be built directly on the ground as a complete structure. The spherical design allows for proper airflow and temperature regulation. After a long and arduous series of trial and error humans finally created the first design for a home that can be used in any environment.

The Galaxy DKO750

Credit : America’s Geodesic Domes Leader 

Benefits of DIY Geodesic Domes

As stated by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development “Geodesic dome houses are some of the cheapest houses to build and maintain on the market. Their simple yet sound design was made to provide quality housing for as many people as possible for as cheap as possible.” Large geodesic structures can be constructed within a matter of days and are relatively cheap compared to any other similar-sized building. Geodesic domes are famous for their design that creates a temperature-regulated space that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Due to their simple design, DIY geodesic domes are easy for anyone to build and can be done with little to no previous building experience. The entire purpose for the creation of the geodesic dome design was to help people live better lives while spending less, which is why the Buckminster Fuller Institute was created, to help make the world a better place in the shortest amount of time.

Geodesic Domes in Modern Culture

Pop culture has been taking hold of the new geodesic dome design by storm and added new modern features to create wonderful interior and exterior designs. In the short time geodesic domes have been around they have become an integral part of creating eco-friendly and sustainable homes. The buzz around DIY geodesic domes also stems from the fact that these structures are not made for busy or crowded areas. It can be nearly impossible to get proper permit permission from an HOA or crowded suburban area to build a geodesic dome home next to the rest of the houses nearby. In a city, geodesic domes do not provide the proper noise filtration that a loud and bustling city requires. Luckily they’re easy and convenient enough for a family to pack the materials of a dome kit in the back of an SUV and go construct one anywhere convenient. Some people are getting proper permits to build a geodesic-shaped house in suburban areas because of how well the shape regulates temperature amongst their other benefits. But generally for personal use people will want to steer clear of trying to build one in a city.

Bio domes
geodesic domes eden project

Image credit: The Eden Project

Geodesic domes are not just being adapted for personal use. On a small scale, they can be used to create things like homes and greenhouses, but on a large scale, these greenhouses are being turned into entire biomes. The Eden Project in Cornwall, United Kingdom is constructing giant biodomes, all with unique ecosystems. They currently house two main biome facilities, a Mediterranean biome, and a Rainforest biome. While these massive biomes are only walking distance from one another, stepping inside one of them is like walking into a new world. Each with their own unique climate, flora, and fauna these bio domes are the pinnacle of what can be produced using geodesic technology. They have set out to create their own Edens and are a true marvel to behold. 

How to Build your own Geodesic Dome

The construction process for DIY geodesic domes is quite simple. If you would like to check out the calculations, plans, and measurements for creating a geodesic dome from scratch then Acidome is an excellent resource. Simply select your language and then play with the shapes and amount of materials and measurements you are looking for and the calculator will work it out for you.      
A monolithic dome

While this calculator can be a lot of fun to use, building a geodesic dome completely from scratch is going to take some trial and error and can be a bit of a learning curve, especially for someone who has never done anything like this before. Luckily there are readily available sets of DIY geodesic domes already available and packaged in dome kits. Over on Domespaces, there is an array of pre-designed and customizable geodesic domes that will be shipped in parts with instruction blueprints in an easy-to-build manner anywhere in the world. Depending on the model chosen instructions may vary but generally, you will need to construct the base, connect the struts for the frame, lay over the windows and door, and then fasten the cover over the area. There are different covers available for different needs, such as greenhouse covers, insulation covers, etc.  

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