When examining various types of tiny houses, one usually reads of tiny houses on wheels, diminutive structures made from shed or cabin kits, garage transformations, less on new buildings with a foundation and even yurts. Yet on the subject of modern tiny residences, little is mentioned about the geodesic dome. Indeed, if one cursorily looks over the subject on the Internet, most geodesic dome builders seem to go to extraordinary lengths to make their domes look like a traditional home with cedar shake or asphalt roofing, traditional siding materials and commonly used finishes inside. This goes to such a point that it might occur to one that the geodesic dome might be excluded from the notion of modern. However, nothing exudes modern much better than the geodesic structure.
The geodesic dome, based upon the icosahedron, was the invention of the German engineer, Walther Bauersfeld. He designed the dome as part of a planetarium. 30 years later the American architect, Richard Buckminster Fuller, popularized the use of the geodesic dome. I will not go into a history of Fuller. His personal as well as public life is quite rich and varied and worthy of investigation in its own right.
The geodesic dome proved incredibly strong even when using lightweight materials and could span large spaces without internal support. A dome could be built quickly with few parts, requiring no special tools or implements. Modern materials such as artificial fiber fabrics can be stretched over the frame making construction even faster.
Obviously, the dome appealed to the military because of the way a large structure could be packaged and transported, with uses from temporary shelter to covers for sophisticated equipment.
In terms of modern structures one immediately thinks of some famous examples:
Epcot Center, Opened 1982 at Disney World. The quintessential mid-century modern ideal.
United States Pavilion at the 1967 World Exhibition or Expo 67, Montreal, Canada.
One of the most interesting things about geodesic dome homes is their lack of a historical context. Virtually every building design today contains an element from the past. In western and eastern traditions, the post and lintel system forms a strong element of architecture. Among the architects included as mid-century modern, the International Style was entirely based on post and lintel construction, for instance. Although in a few places something like a dome such as the Yurt came into use, the complex mathematical nature of the geodesic dome only belongs to modern times. Of course, the ancient Romans expertly built domes as in the Pantheon. However, the Roman dome was basically an arch turned 360 degrees. No geodesic architectural precursor exists.
The fact that the geodesic dome has the added feature of a roof that also forms the walls also decreases its material expense. The dome can be the entire construction. Fortunately, the dome also has a great deal of flexibility. It can be divided in half or merged with another dome. The type of geometry allows for a high or flat dome, which can be mounted on various types of supports or walls. The most remarkable feature, however, is the amount of space a dome can cover. This becomes an unwanted characteristic of a tiny house to some, I would assume.
Here is an article in Freunde von Freunden about a Japanese photographer and his small dome home. One can easily see how a geodesic dome, even though the footprint is small, seems considerably larger.
An example of a tiny dome home floor plan.
An example of the structure of a geodesic dome house.
The geodesic dome has great potential in terms of a modern building. Utilizing the high, open space, the dome, taking advantage of modern materials and furnishings, becomes just as modern as its rectilinear counterpart while retaining a bit of the feel of an organic design.
Here is a link to extremely interesting information included among the information about a frameless geodesic dome.
The following are links to various dome kit companies:
Ai, makers of 10 geodesic dome kits for owner builders or contractors who want to build a Tornado, Hurricane resistant dome home, concrete retirement home, concrete vacation home or commercial business dome.
For more than 35 years, we’ve been dedicated to designing Timberline Geodesic Dome packages that make it easy, practical and affordable for people to construct their own homes. Timberline Geodesic Dome Homes use our unique and patented SteelStar connector system that assures you can construct your dome with precision and confidence, even if you’ve never built anything before.
A Natural Spaces geodesic dome home offers you a lifestyle that is at once comfortable, efficient and affordable while it is exciting, uplifting, inspiring and passionate.
Yes, passionate. Our domes offer gorgeous wood interiors. We take advantage of breath taking views through our large groupings of dome triangle windows. Dome homes with high, soaring 2 1/2 story ceilings in the living/dining rooms. Open, airy domes but with a cozy, safe, “snuggly” feeling at the same time.
Evolving Dome Home Kits for Building Round Dome Homes since 1982.
Sturdy and aerodynamic EconOdome kit built structures are
Earthquake, Storm and Hurricane Safer Round Homes.
Precision Cut Kit Round Homes have Ten Equal Sides.
Ten-Equal-Sided Foundation and Floor is Easier to Build.
The EconOdome frame Kit includes custom vertical framing at perimeter
for Conventional Doors and Windows at no extra charge.
Whether you are looking for dome kits, dome house plans or are interested in dome house construction, we are here to answer your questions and concerns. We make dome house kits with panels that bolt directly together. oregon domes, oregon building kits, panelized building kits, home building kits, geodesic dome kits.Our panels are framed and sheathed with holes already drilled and assembly hardware included.
With over 30 years developing domes, Dome Inc. has designed several distinct series of geodesic dome buildings. Each design is engineered to meet specific building codes and standards of construction, based on local climate conditions, seismic and extreme weather events, use of the building, and cost.
Introducing the most revolutionary building structure that is taking the world by storm. The EPS personal dome structure is impervious to natural disasters, hurricanes, earthquakes, and the shape is naturally wind resistant.
This is personal real estate that has an endless amount of uses and is eco-friendly, energy efficient, easy to construct, and ridiculously affordable. These domes can be used in back yards, as single family homes, as in-law quarters, man caves, game rooms, storm shelters, etc, etc.
Domain Domes are a versatile, cost-effective, relocatable or permanent shelter system, living space or accommodation solution.
Built with composite fiberglass materials, these innovative domes are frameless structures with the strength and durability of a conventional building but the mobility of a tent.
Create your own Geodesic Dome Structure with a set of these unique connectors. Easy to Assemble, Super Strong and Low Cost Domes.