Last edited 28 Jun 2021

Geodesic dome

Dali museum.jpg


[edit] Introduction

The geodesic dome was developed by the American engineer and architect Richard Buckminster Fuller in the late 1940s. Geodesic domes are sphere-like structures consisting of a network of triangles which provide a self-balancing structural framework that uses minimal materials. The word geodesic is Latin and means 'earth dividing'.

Buckminster Fuller designed the geodesic dome following World War II as part of his experimentation to create affordable and efficient housing that could be built quickly from mass-produced parts. The domes tend to be lightweight and easy to assemble and, in contrast to many other structural systems, can enclose large areas without requiring internal columns.

In 1953, Buckminster Fuller designed the first commercial dome for the Ford Motor Company headquarters in Michigan, after which he received a patent for the dome in 1954. He also supplied a large number of domes to the US military which used them to cover radar stations (radomes) at installations around the Arctic Circle.

Geodesic dome.jpg

[edit] Efficiency

Geodesic domes are efficient structures in several ways:

[edit] Uses of geodesic domes

It is believed that there are more than 300,000 geodesic domes around the world today. They can be constructed in a variety of sizes, with the largest being the 216m diameter Fukuoka Dome, a baseball stadium in Japan.

They are suitable for a wide range of uses:

[edit] Components

The materials used for geodesic domes vary widely. For simple, movable structures, timber, PVC or galvanised steel frames covered with a thin architectural membrane (such as PVC polyester or ETFE foil) can be used. Larger, more permanent structures such as sports stadiums have been constructed with aluminium and steel frames covered with materials such as copper, aluminium, acrylic and Plexiglas panels.

[edit] Examples of geodesic domes

Geodesic domes can be seen around the world, including:

  • The American exhibit at Expo 67 in Montreal.
  • The largest geodesic dome at 216m in Fukuoka, Japan.
  • Epcot Centre’s Spaceship Earth centre.
  • The Aviary at Queen’s Zoo, US.
  • EcoCamp Patagonia hotel – the first geodesic dome hotel, Chile.
  • The biomes at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.

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