Geodesic The Concept
As related to a cost effective mass housing solution.


History of Domes


The first contemporary geodesic dome on record is Walter Bauersfeld's, who realized the utility of projecting the constellations on the inner surface of an icosasphere, Omnimax-style, thereby creating a breakthrough planetarium in Jena, Germany, in 1922.

Fuller derived his geodesic dome from general principles
independently of Bauresfeld, just as he derived the octet truss
without knowing of Alexander Graham Bell's implementation of this same naturally occurring phenomenon.

Fuller's geodesic spheres and domes emerged synergetically from his philosophical " explorations in the geometry of thinking". In this self-discipline, the variably frequenced icosasphere links up with the jitterbug and sphere packing concepts (see dome geometry ).

The spherical high frequency Icosahedron also suggests a grid of triangles which may be used to transfer global data from a sphere to an unfoldable Icosahedron (another concept that would have excited Bauersfeld). The geodesic dome and the Fuller Projection both derive from the same general principles.

The geodesic sphere or dome was patented by R. Buckminster Fuller in June 1954 (U.S. Patent No. 2,682,235). Technically speaking, a geodesic (a.k.a. great circle) is a circular line that goes around the widest part of a sphere. The center of a geodesic is also the center of the sphere. For example, the equator and all the longitude lines of a globe are geodesics. By contrast all of the latitude lines other than the equator are small circles. Fuller originally set out to make domes using only geodesic lines. However in most modern domes, most of the lines are not actually geodesics. In these pages a Geodesic refers to a dome or sphere made using the technique described here.

Local loads are distributed throughout the geodesic dome, utilizing the entire structure. Geodesic domes get stronger, lighter and cheaper per unit of volume as their size increases--just the opposite of conventional building. Bucky cooled critics by erecting enormous geodesic domes of many different designs, very quickly--sometimes in mere hours instead of months or years. Serving atop mountains, sheltering Arctic radar installations, and even covering the South Pole, they have proved to be the strongest structures ever devised. Earthquakes cannot damage them unless the ground opens up and swallows the foundation (or it is undermined, as the South Pole dome has been.) There has been no report of hurricane damage of a properly designed geodesic dome; indeed, they are demonstrations of more-with-less, or "ephemeralization," as Bucky liked to say. The best ones are proportionally thinner than a chicken egg shell is to the egg. More volume is sheltered by Bucky's domes than by the work of any other architect.

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