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Geodesic Dome Homes: An Architectural Revolution

Geodesic Dome Homes
A geodesic dome home is a structure that is built on the lines of geodesic domes. It is made of an internal metal framework that supports the shell. Let's learn about the ways in which dome homes could affect our quality of living.
Luke Macedo
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
A revolution in architecture, geodesic domes are a marvel in terms of house designs that are apart from conventional structures. There are just so many advantages of having one as your home, that you might actually consider it as an option. These kinds of domes have existed since WWI where the first geodesic dome was built in Germany. And since then there are plenty of manufacturing companies that offer domes for sale of any shape and size. You have the choice of either getting it constructed from scratch or getting a ready-made one. Let's have a look at the way these domes are built and understand how beneficial they can actually be as a house.
Geodesic Domes
Geodesic dome
Homes built using the design of a geodesic dome are known as geodesic dome homes. A geodesic is a line that is made across the surface of a sphere such that the sphere is divided in half. A geodesic dome consists of a number of geodesics (lines) running across its surface that intersect each other to form shapes, mostly equidistant definite triangles. These shapes are present uniformly across the sphere and thus help in keeping the whole structure stable. A geodesic dome home is constructed using a partially spherical dome as its roof, in place of a rectangular concrete ceiling or tiles that is common with present day home building. These domes can be made from materials ranging from soft fabric to hard metal, and are known to be extremely energy efficient, provided they are used to their capacity. Of course there are a few disadvantages that are part and parcel of this kind of structure which we will discuss later on.
How to Build a Geodesic Dome Home
Wooden geodesic dome construction
With geodesic dome house kits readily available, it has become easier to construct one with the added advantage of you attempting to build it on your own. The kit consists of the main framework and the panels of the dome. It's recommended that you opt for fiber panels as they are going to be the easiest to fit. The reason being that due to the shape of the dome, regular plywood will increase the cost of construction. This is because, regular house construction materials are available only to accommodate angular fittings, such as a rectangular roof with walls. Hence, you need to select a material that is not going to need altering to fit the dome shell.

The case here being that, your initial intention of saving by building the dome will be nullified by the cutting and alterations that you perform with the plywood or something similar. Hence, using material such as fiber will help because it doesn't come in any predetermined shapes, which makes it easier for you to fit the panels by avoiding wastage. The following are a few guidelines that you can follow when you're trying to construct one on your own.
  • Map out a blue print of the dome in order to refer to it while constructing, as measurements need to be taken based upon the size of the dome. There is no fixed measurement, hence, you can order in the panels of your choice, and according to that, build the frame.
  • Make sure the surface area of each panel is a little wider than that of the frame so that adjustments can be made.
  • Depending upon the size of the dome, metal rods, preferably aluminum, need to be purchased and cut into equal lengths to form struts or supporting bars, which constitute the mainframe.
  • These rods need to then be flattened and bent at an angle at each end, in order to connect it to another strut.
  • Holes then need to be drilled at each end in order to screw on the nuts and bolts, that hold each strut in place with the next.
  • Finally, assemble the dome by attaching the panels to the framework.

This is the simplest form of a dome that you can construct.
Wooden geodesic dome
The disadvantage that you're going to encounter is trying to get the internal fittings to match with the shape of the dome, such as the drainage, water pipes, and the wiring and circuit points. You will need to personally make sure that these fittings are custom-made for you to accommodate the shape of the house. Also make sure that the plans of the construction are handed over to the local building and construction authorities well in advance to avoid future hassles. Besides homes, another place where geodesic domes has found in use are greenhouses. Due to the transparency of the dome it's ideal for greenhouses. They work excellently in place of the regular structure that greenhouses are built of. And due to their light weight, they can even be lifted and moved if the case arises.
Here are a few advantages of constructing a geodesic dome. They are as follows:
  • Due to their spherical structure, they are impervious to the elements of nature. They can stand extremely strong winds and some are even known to withstand earthquakes.
  • The air that circulates inside the dome helps maintain its temperature constantly, and are also known to keep the interiors warmer than conventional homes.
  • It is claimed that a geodesic dome helps save at least 25-30% of space that would otherwise be required by a rectangular house. This is quite an important aspect considering the rate of real estate.
Of course there are a few disadvantages too that have to be considered as well, they are:
  • Due to the type of the material used in a dome, elements such as sunlight, smell, condensation and sound, penetrate the barrier which provides little protection against them.
  • It is difficult and time-consuming to try to fit the furniture and internal fittings according to the shape of the dome.
  • Trying to divide the space by means of walls can sometimes prove to be a major hurdle because of the absence of corners and straight flat lines to work with.
  • As the panels of the dome are triangular in shape, square or rectangular windows will not work, hence, you will have to make do with triangular or round windows.
However, whatever may be the case, these homes are a truly amazing invention that has changed the face and definition of home improvement and architecture. The demand is increasing as people are catching up with the concept of dome houses. Though there is some amount of expenditure involved, it is considered to be cheaper than building a concrete ceiling. So why not be the envy of your neighbors? Go, grab a geodesic dome kit and set to work upon it to build yourself a revolutionary geodesic dome home.