QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Who invented Geodesic Domes?
Richard "Bucky" Fuller invented the Geodesic Dome in the late 1940s to demonstrate some ideas about housing and "energetic-synergetic geometry" which he had developed during WWII. This invention built on his two decade old quest to improve the housing of humanity. It represents a brilliant demonstration of his synergetics principles; and in the right circumstances it could solve some of the pressing housing problems of today (a housing crisis which Fuller predicted back in 1927).
Although Fuller predicted that a million domes would be built by the mid-1980's, the number is closer to 50,000. Domes are nonetheless still going up in surprising places. A 265-foot-wide geodesic dome is part of a new pavilion at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center in Florida. A bright blue 360-foot-high dome houses a shopping center in downtown Ankara, Turkey. Stockholm, Sweden, boasts a 280-foot-high dome enclosing a new civic center.
How do geodesic domes behave under severe snow and wind loads?
The domes are used for past 50 yeasr in the most demanding conditions. Scott Amundsen Polar Station in Antarctica has been subjected to the immence snow loads, and strongest winds on the Planet.
The dome, compared to the regular (rectangular) house, is aerodynamic, thus creates no wind drag, and almost no resistance.
The snow loads are reaching 200lb per sq. ft. because of the domes ability to distribute loads equally to all of its' members.
What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of Dome Life?
1. Heating and cooling the home become more efficient due to the fact that there are fewer (even no) corners where heat may be trapped. The overall air flow in a dome is substantially better than in a conventionally constructed home (straight walls and such), and there is less surface area per square foot of living space = less heat loss.
2. Many dome home designs allow the option of using larger lumber for the dome. 2x6's or 2x8's instead of the usual 2x4's, although this is an option in ANY home, it seems to be more commonly done in dome home construction.
3. For those solar minded people, the placement of the solar collectors on the "roof" is less critical due to the curved nature of the top of the structure.
4. The inherent strength of the dome makes it suitable for either earth-bermed or even earth covered construction techniques. In the case of more common construction techniques, the structural members' dimensions usually need to be completely reworked in order to carry the extra weight.
5. Hell, they LOOK pretty neat! This might be a problem in certain areas which one of those laws which say that all homes in an area _MUST_ conform to certain guidelines concerning their architecture.
6. Mass producing domes is easy, greatly reduces the cost and could solve many of the housing shortage problems worldwide (especially emergency housing needs).
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