Article updated: 23th December 2022.
What is a geodesic dome?
A geodesic dome is a spherical structure made up of interconnected straight lines, usually triangular panels, instead of curved surfaces. The short struts which form geometric panels to approximate a circular shape make a geodome robust because they distribute stress throughout the framework. So despite their delicate appearance, they are capable of withstanding heavy loads and resisting strong winds.
Geodesic domes are lightweight, aerodynamic, insulates efficiently, easy to construct and scalable. For these reasons and because geodomes insulate efficiently, they’re ideal structures for emergency shelters, greenhouses, arenas, hangars, dome climbers for kids and toddlers or just building a clear dome tent in your garden.
How to build a geodesic dome?
Since geodesic domes are easy to assemble, inexpensive and easy to disassemble, they’re also easy to move. In fact, one person can build a 6-metre geodome without help. First, prepare the dome struts and purchase the necessary materials.
Nowadays, if you want to build a garden dome or a greenhouse, or even a house you can use dome kits. Check out the list of the best diy geodesic dome kits available today.
Would you like to build yourself a geodesic dome in your garden? Here is a geodesic dome kit easy to use. Construction takes less than 1 hour.
For a more complex geodome that would be used as a temporary shelter, you’ll need metal 3/4 electrical conduit, pipe cutter, electric drill with a cord, titanium drill bits, sledgehammer, anvil and heavy-duty tarps for covering.
You can substitute the struts and covering with sturdier materials depending on your needs. Check out step-by-step instructions here using the top to bottom assembly sequence.
Who invented the geodesic dome?
American architect Richard Buckminster Fuller (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983) is known as the inventor of the geodesic dome. Fuller, or Bucky as his peers affectionately call him, wore many hats in his lifetime including stints as an engineer, mapmaker, poet, editor, businessman, inventor and all-around futurist.
Even then he was concerned about the increasing scarcity of earth’s natural resources, hence he was focused on using science and technology in conceiving more efficient ways of handling our planet’s dwindling resources. The eco-friendly geodesic dome is the one of his enduring contributions to sustainable architecture. Bucky himself lived in a dome home during his career as a research professor at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale from 1959-1970.
How to build a geodesic dome home?
For a 2v geodome, here are the basic steps to set up your dome home (courtesy of Zip Tie Domes):
- Find a level area at least 16′ by 16′ wide to assemble the dome.
- Unpack the dome materials and place them in a convenient spot outside the area where the dome will be constructed. Use wire cutters or manually unwind the wire for releasing the struts from the restraining wires.
- Build the Foundation Ring.
- Assemble the Foundation Ring.
- Assemble the First Tier Supports.
- Raise the First Tier.
- Set the Red Struts for the Second Tier.
- Set the 10 Blue Struts for the Second Tier.
- Complete the Second Tier.
- Complete The Dome!
You can download the complete instructional manual here, watch this video or check out other manufacturers of prefabricated dome homes.
How to build a geodesic dome greenhouse?
The efficient insulation and aerodynamic design of a geodesic dome make it a perfect architectural choice for a greenhouse. There are a lot of available plans and DIY videos you can check out online, some are free while others can be downloaded for a fee.
The geodome frequency also depends on the area of the plot of land you want to build the geodome greenhouse and how big you want the dome to be. Acidome is a great online tool for calculating the measurements needed to construct your geodome greenhouse.
Do geodesic domes leak?
Yes, they can. If not properly sealed, the geodesic dome constructions can leak. To reduce the danger of leaks, it is crucial to make sure the triangles that make up the dome are correctly linked and sealed.
Leaks can also be avoided by using materials that are impervious to water and moisture, such as properly treated wood or metal.
In order to avoid leaks in geodesic domes, proper maintenance and care are also essential. This may entail routinely checking the dome for any indications of wear or damage and taking immediate action to repair any problems that are found. To prevent water from entering the building, it is also crucial to make sure the dome is adequately weatherproofed and sealed.
>> Check out: How to seal a geodesic dome to prevent leakages?
What is geodesic dome frequency?
The letter “v” refers to the dome frequency. For example, “2v” in a 2v geodesic dome means “2 frequency” and a 3v dome is a 3 frequency dome. In addition, the higher the “v” or frequency, the more triangles or subdivisions there are in a geodesic dome.
A higher frequency dome with more triangles will be sturdy and more spherical in shape compared to a lower frequency dome. Finally, it’s also much more complicated to build and assemble higher frequency domes since they will have more struts.
What is a 2v geodesic dome?
A 2v geodesic dome is a relatively simple construction because it includes only two different sized triangles. You can use either a hub and strut construction with two different sized struts or opt for a panelised construction using 2 types of panels. It can be assembled and disassembled quickly, so a 2v geodome framework can usually be seen for temporary or emergency shelters such as tents.
What is the largest geodesic dome?
The biggest of all geodesic domes, with a diameter of 216m is in Fukuoka, Japan. The Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome was built in 1993 and can accommodate over 38,000 people. It is used as venues for major sporting events and concerts. The second biggest geodome is also in Japan, the Nagoya Dome at 187m, followed by the Superior Dome in Michigan, USA at 163m.
Where are geodesic domes found in the world?
There are thousands of geodesic domes around the world, of varying sizes and significance. Most of the notable ones are located in Europe and North America where the father of the geodesic dome was born. Some of them are full spheres like the Spaceship Earth at Epcot Centre in Walt Disney World, while others are cupolas and part of a larger structure or building like the Glass Dome in Dali Museum.
You can read our article on the 50 Remarkable Geodesic Domes of the World for an introduction to some of the most interesting and noteworthy geodomes.
What are the main disadvantages of geodesic domes?
Geodesic domes do have some possible drawbacks to take into account, much like any other style of structure:
- Geodesic dome building can be challenging and may call for specialized tools and equipment. The appropriate construction of them might also call for a high level of competence and skill.
- Limited floor area: Geodesic domes’ triangular design might lead to a limited amount of floor space, which may make them less useful for some uses.
- Limited alternatives for interior design: Geodesic domes’ distinctive shape may restrict the possibilities for interior layout and furniture arrangement.
- Due to their intricate design and the potential for structural breaches, geodesic domes may be more susceptible to leaks.
- Initial investment could be higher: Geodesic domes could cost more at first. Due to the specific materials and construction needed, geodesic domes may have a higher initial cost compared to other types of buildings.
When determining if a geodesic dome is the best option for a certain project, it is crucial to carefully weigh these potential drawbacks.
What is the lifespan of a geodesic dome?
A geodesic dome’s longevity will rely on a number of elements, including the materials used, the level of craftsmanship, and the upkeep and maintenance it receives. Generally speaking, geodesic domes made with premium materials and constructed and maintained correctly can last 50 years or more.
It is crucial to remember that all buildings, including geodesic domes, eventually need to be fixed or replaced because of normal wear and tear as well as additional problems like weathering or damage. A geodesic dome should be periodically inspected and maintained in order to make sure it is in good shape and to spot and resolve any potential problems.
What are the different types of geodesic domes?
Geodesic domes come in a variety of designs, including:
- Geodesic domes with a full sphere: These domes have a full sphere that is evenly divided into triangles.
- Geodesic domes that are half spheres and evenly divided into triangles are known as semi-sphere geodesic domes.
- Geodesic domes that resemble an ellipse and are evenly divided into triangles are called ellipsoid geodesic domes.
- Geodesic domes that are not symmetrical and may have an uneven shape are called asymmetrical geodesic domes.
- Geodesic domes that combine several different shapes, such as triangles, squares, and others, are known as hybrid geodesic domes.
Each style of geodesic dome has distinctive qualities of its own and can be used for a variety of reasons. It’s crucial to take a project’s unique objectives and requirements into account when selecting the right geodome.
What is the strongest type of geodesic dome?
One type of geodesic dome that is known for its strength is the full sphere geodesic dome
These domes are full spheres that have been equally divided into triangles, which helps the structure distribute the load more evenly. Full spherical geodesic domes are frequently employed in applications that call for a robust and long-lasting building, such military and emergency shelters.
Depending on the materials used and the level of construction, other geodesic dome forms, such as semi-sphere and ellipsoid geodesic domes, may also be sturdy and long-lasting. When selecting the best kind of geodesic dome for a project, it is crucial to take its particular needs and specifications into account.
Where to buy a geodesic dome?
There are several companies which sell instructional manuals with geodome kits made of prefabricated materials ready for assembly. Ekodome sells dome kits for glamping domes, pop-up shops and events. You can search websites like Amazon for plastic clear dome tents ready for self-assembly. There are also companies like Natural Spaces Domes which sell ready-for-occupancy geodome homes all over the United States.
The DIY movement has likewise made it possible for anyone to make their own geodomes, whether as a shed, a greenhouse or a summertime space. The Internet is full of helpful geodome calculators along with detailed directions and video documentation to get you started with your project.