Geodesic dome is a brilliant invention of the American inventor, engineer and architect Richard Buckminster Fuller. The genius is simple: applying vector space division, Fuller decomposed the dome structure into … triangles, the sides of which are located on geodesic lines connecting two points on a curved surface.
Of course, the dome has been known since time immemorial and has always been appreciated for the special, unattainable for other structures, strength, ability without any supports to cover large spaces. But only after 1951, when R. Buckminster Fuller presented his invention to the world, the creation of the domes became a simple and understandable engineering occupation.
The construction of such facilities has become widespread throughout the world due to the original appearance and a number of advantages, including the rational use of space and significant savings.
Spherical, domed dwellings have long been known – igloo, yaranga, wigwam, etc. – built on this principle. They are characterized by high stability and ease of construction, and this earned the popularity of our ancestors. But dome house design in their pure form, as a phenomenon of modern construction, appeared not so long ago — about the second half of the last century…
What is a geodesic dome house?
Domed or spherical house – is the name of one construction technology. Actually, the name reflects the feature of this type of housing – the house is not rectangular, but made in the form of a hemisphere. Or rather – in the form of a polyhedron approaching in appearance to the sphere.
The geodesic dome house, which is based on the design of the geodesic dome, is built, as a rule, on the well-known technology of frame construction.
Area 100 m2 = typical house 10×10 m = Perimeter 40 m
Area 100 m2 = the dome with a diameter of 11.3 m = Perimeter of 35.5 m
The feature is the construction of the geodesic dome, providing ventilation of the roof, waterproofing, installation of windows, doors, etc.
Four methods of construction of geodesic domes are widely used:
> Connector, when the dome is assembled with connectors and ribs (segments of the timber). Example: universal constructions by Natural Spaces Domes.
> Infinite vector when the dome is assembled from ready-made triangular panels. Example: panel constructions by Good Karma Domes.
> Infinite vector, when the dome is assembled from precisely fitted segments of timber. Example: a magnificent building EconOdome.
> Lightweight geodesic structures from pieces of metal/plastic pipe with cover. Example: openwork constructions of Dome Company.
Foreign experience shows the high resilience of the structure, the possibility of its use even in the harsh Canadian winter and Alpine highlands.
Why choose the dome-shaped buildings?
Probably everyone has heard that it is useful to be under the dome roof. What about living in a dome roof house? Interesting, isn’t it?
The dome shaped roof houses or yarangas, wigwams, igloos, yurts, etc. – the most ancient types of domes and most durable dwellings invented by man.
Humans in all ages and to the present time subconsciously connected the divine energies with spherical structures, reflecting this consciousness in religious buildings: churches, minarets, mosques and temples of other religions. From the point of view of eniology − the science of energy information exchange in nature and society − domes and arches have the property of the distribution of energy stress concentrations. Such a domed building immediately becomes your personal temple. Round shapes have a uniform field without significant stress zones and pathogenic anomalies, unlike angles. Living in a virtual paradigm of the right angle which is disastrous for all living creatures, we are inevitably influenced by the energies that these forms generate.
Nowadays people subconsciously begin to move away from right angles.
In the design of many household appliances and cars, there are almost no right angles and they are very ergonomic, they are pleasing to the eye and soul, they are unbelievably comfortable, they are streamlined and organic. The interiors began to appear a lot of plastic lines, and the people living in them, become more natural, harmonious.
Ergonomics & Resistance
From time immemorial, the spherical dome buildings accompanies humanity, the earth has the shape of a ball, the animals build their homes round shape, because the sphere is the most durable construction. The entire inside of the product is distributed evenly, therefore, when you try to crush it, a back pressure is created. You just need to know the laws of physics and chemistry – these two sciences give answers to the most seemingly complex questions.
Hurricane winds go around the structure!
Snow does not accumulate abundantly on the roof of geodesic structures!
Domed buildings are resistant to earthquakes!
And these are only the constructive advantages of the dome house. The speed of construction and relative affordability will allow you to build your own dome with a minimum of labor!
The lightness of the dome house – it’s at least 30% lighter than traditional buildings – and the weight of the whole structure of the dome house compared to the weight of a traditional one makes it possible to use a lightweight strip foundation. Moreover, the engineers of the company Natural Spaces Domes consider it possible to use Foundation Frost Protected Shallow Footing (FPSF) – heat-insulated Foundation made of fine… wood!
Dome houses are often erected without foundations: they’re put on piles or wooden platforms.
You can build a dome house in bad weather and even in cold winter. The dome house is built “the other way around” – first comes the roof, then the walls (“closed perimeter”), then the house is insulated, internal partitions and floors are installed and interior decoration works are carried out. Within a few days after the start of construction – as soon as the frame is assembled and sheathed – you can continue in a comfortable environment all the other work.
Moreover, even the pouring of the foundation and the installation of the floor, heating systems can be carried out after the assembly of the dome in “greenhouse” conditions, as the geodesic dome is a very strong but lightweight structure.
For the construction of the dome house, one does not need special building equipment. The dome structure is light and has enough low-depth band foundations. The geodesic dome house itself is a detailed design, all the elements of which are transferred and installed manually. For the construction of large domed buildings, you will need scaffolding and stairs.
The advantages and disadvantages of dome homes
Advantages of the geodesic dome building:
+ Inside the geo frame there are no additional supports. It is in itself the only bearing element. It is the greatest possible opportunity for any designer, since it guarantees a complete freedom of action and makes it possible to implement any ideas and plans related to partitions and rooms anywhere in the house.
+Increased seismic resistance, the design can withstand fluctuations up to 12 points on the Richter scale, perhaps that is why the dome housing is beginning to develop actively in Japan.
+Excellent aerodynamics: the house is not afraid of strong winds (up to 250 km/h). Thanks to the lack of flat walls, the air flows smoothly around the sphere and it does not crash into the surface. In normal conditions, high and low-pressure zones do not appear and there are no drafts or heat fluctuations.
+ The dome house can withstand high snow loads of 500-600 kg/m2 and more. The most important thing is that the accumulation of snow on the rounded surface has its limit: if the cap is too large, it will roll down, or it will be blown off by the wind.
+ As strange as it may sound, but the rounder the house, the stronger it is. The load is distributed evenly, and the symmetry of the form gives the frame its endurance – this is a vivid example of the classical standard of the distribution of a specific load per 1 kg of a structure. Even if you dismantle up to 1/3 of all triangles, the building will not collapse.
+ Geodesic dome dwelling is very light. To build a dome house, one does not need a heavy and expensive foundation.
+ Any number of windows can be built into the dome house. This will not affect the stability of the structure.
Every structure has its drawbacks, and geodesic domed building is no exception. Therefore, before building a dome house, it is necessary to get a good understanding of the “birthmarks” of geodesic structures, to thoroughly understand the features of the design and construction of geodesic domed buildings. There is nothing immensely complicated… It’s just that “square” houses are built everywhere, and the shortcomings of such construction are known to everyone, while dome houses are still exotic…
The main disadvantages of geodesic structures and ways to eliminate them:
> Dome houses are known for the complexity of the calculations that are necessary to complete a design. It’s impossible to run the calculations are draw the project of a dome in two dimensions. It is necessary to have a developed spatial imagination and good knowledge of 3D-graphics programs. A good solution is to buy ready-made projects.
> The nuances and subtleties of the construction of dome structures are not described in the classical literature on construction, they are not known to teachers of construction universities, they are not faced by experienced builders in everyday practice. The solution? Contact professional dome builders.
> During the construction of the dome structure (house, restaurant, camping) there is more waste of building materials compared to the amount of waste that is inevitable in the construction of rectangular buildings. This is due to the fact that construction materials are usually supplied in a rectangular form, and the main building “brick” of the dome is a triangle. The severity of the problem can be reduced if we take into account the size of the applied construction materials and carefully place patterns of triangular parts on them.
> The frequent need to use non-standard, specially manufactured windows, doors, fire escapes and special, custom-made pieces of furniture. Special triangular vertical or roof windows can be made to order, but they will be quite expensive. You can always purchase non-standard products from specialized companies that are already engaged in manufacturing sets of domes for assembly in and producing non-standard components.
What can be built?
What options do we offer?
The arrangement of the roof and ventilation of the dome. The dome house has a good natural ventilation of the walls (dome), therefore, as a rule, the device of special ventilation of the roof in its classical form does not need. The combination of open ventilation openings (windows) in the upper part of the dome and in its base allows us not to take extra measures to ensure the ventilation of the roof and gives us significant energy savings. You can save the sums that would otherwise be spent on air conditioning in the summer. To improve ventilation under the ceiling, a fan can be installed.
That is why the design of the roof of the dome house is very simple: it is sheathed with plywood or OSB-panels and covered with waterproofing film or other waterproofing material, on top of which flexible shingles are placed.
Insulation of the dome house. The inner “triangles” of the dome are ready-made cells for laying thermal insulation material-mineral wool, foam, glass wool, etc. If the edges of the dome are long, then the faces from the inside are divided by additional “struts”, giving the faces the necessary rigidity, and helping to keep the insulating material.
However, in multi storey structures, the effect of natural ventilation of the dome is limited by the division of the dome into two or three parts (floors), therefore, to ensure effective ventilation of the under-roof space, the insulation is not laid on the entire depth of the niche, and in the lower and upper parts of the dome make holes for the air inlet and outlet, which passes between the layer of insulation and the outer skin of the dome, providing ventilation of the roof.
The inner lining of the dome. After laying the insulation cells are sewn with triangular panels, cut from plywood, OSB-plate, drywall. A good result is obtained by using lining.
Heating of the dome house. In small, especially one storey buildings, an effective heating system can be a small stove or fireplace installed closer to the center of the dome. At the same time, in the absence of owners or at night sufficient temperature in the house (10-14C) is maintained by electric batteries, and when you return home, you can quickly raise the temperature in the house to a comfortable 20-24C by turning on the heater or using the fireplace. Floor heating systems are also widely used.
Sound insulation and ventilation.
+ Significant savings on ventilation: due to the geometric features, the air continuously circulates in a natural way from the top down and from the bottom up, it does not create stagnant zones and there are additional optional 5-inch slots to ventilate the roof space.
+ Sound insulation is carried out by means of a special membrane design. Round structures are better adapted to the flow of winds and sound waves. Thus, sounds have a very little effect on the internal atmosphere.
Passive house option.
There are no corners inside the building. Corners often freeze and take an enormous share of heat resources. This is another reason why roundness is a crucial design feature.
Great energy efficiency. If you install a heater or fireplace in the center of the building, the house will warm up very quickly. The cost of heating is much lower for round buildings.
Originality and aesthetics at the highest level, a different philosophy of life.
Thanks to their excellent light characteristics, spherical houses accumulate light rays much better. Therefore, installing solar panels or other independent energy sources is a smart move.
In conclusion, the positive qualities are numerous. Dome house sets are absolutely mobile, we can produce a large number of frames that are ready for installation and, in the shortest possible time, we can transport them anywhere you want them to be.
The dome is quite versatile when it comes to decoration. Only the external structure carries the weight, so you can equip the inside in any way you want: the passage to the second floor or furniture arrangement is not a problem at all.
A spacious room under a multi-faceted dome is always filled with sunlight, and through the window hatches you can watch the shining of stars or clouds floating in the sky. High curved ceiling no longer limits your personal space, and makes it possible to implement in the arrangement of the house all conceived design solutions.
For the interior of the dome house, for example, you can choose the style of high-tech using modern materials.
Owners often focus on the environmental friendliness of the building and choose massive profiled boards (usually made of coniferous wood) for interior decoration. The walls can also be decorated with wallpaper and tiles. For the floor, heavy duty hardwood flooring made of larch can be easily used, although at the request of the customer it can be laminate and linoleum.