Introduction Domes through History

Round structures are naturally efficient for strength, stability, space utilization and energy retention. They are found throughout nature, even at the molecular level. Domed shelters such as yurts, huts C60 Molecule and igloos have (Fullerene) been in use since pre-historic times. The earliest domes were small and made with materials from nature, such as mud, sticks, grass and ice. Through the centuries, larger domes were built using stronger materials. Important examples include the Pantheon and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. However, there was a limit to the area that a dome could span before collapsing St. Peter's Basilica (16th Century) under its own weight. This problem was solved with Buckminster Fuller’s invention of the geodesic dome,

which uses triangles to distribute the stress of the dome’s weight evenly throughout the structure. With this breakthrough, the potential size of domes is virtually unlimited.

Buckminster Fuller
Buckminster Fuller (18951983) was an American architect, engineer, author, designer, inventor, educator and futurist. His work focused on creating inexpensive, energy-saving shelters and modes of transportation, based on the idea that every human on “Spaceship Buckminster Fuller Earth” could enjoy a higher standard of living than ever achieved before, if we only use our resources with optimum efficiency. He is most recognized for his innovation of the Geodesic Dome.

The Invention of the Geodesic Dome
Following experiments in the late 1940’s, Buckminster Fuller was awarded a patent for the geodesic dome in 1954. The geodesic dome appealed to him because of its ability to enclose spaces with the greatest volume for the least surface area using lightweight materials.

He hoped that the geodesic dome would solve environmental, economic and logistical problems related to building shelters in remote locations all over the world. Fuller was soon successful in selling his idea to the U.S. military for use on bases and radar stations. Gradually, geodesic domes were adopted for commercial applications such as concert halls, sports stadiums, botanical gardens and homes. So far, however, Fuller’s dream of using geodesic domes and other “design science” innovations to Nagoya Multipurpose Dome (614 ft.) dramatically raise living standards for people all over the world has not been realized.

Fantasy Entertainment Complex, Kyosho (710 ft.)

How Geodesic Domes Can Help Save the Planet

Millions of people around the world lack shelter. Geodesic domes can help to solve this

problem, because they are cheap, easy and quick to build from a wide variety of materials. Geodesic domes are efficient in their use of space and energy, providing open spaces free of internal structural support. They are lightweight and can be built by a small crew. Domes of up to 50 meters in diameter can be constructed without the use of a crane. Geodesic domes are stable under a wide variety of environmental conditions, and can withstand hurricane force winds. Geodesic domes can potentially be made large enough to cover entire cities, saving tremendous amounts of energy. They can also be used as refuges for endangered ecosystems and species. If the external environment becomes inhospitable to agriculture, giant geodesic domes may provide areas for cultivating crops.

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