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5 great reasons to build a geodesic dome home

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Dome homes. Theyre kind of weird looking and they dont exactly fit into those perfect little neighborhoods you see when walking around a cute downtown area or a clean-cut suburban gated community. ButBuckminster Fullersaw the potential is those triangles: With the goal of creating a structure analogous to natures own designs, Fuller began toexperiment with geometryin the late 1940s. In 1951, he patented the geodesic dome, and while you may not see a lot of on a normal city street, geodesic domes are known to be the most efficient building system available. So, why should you want adome homeanyway?

Fuller, a philosopher, mathematician, engineer, historian, and poet, is known for popularizing thegeodesic domein architectural projects. One of his ambitions was to do more with less, knowing that eventually a housing crisis may endanger the planets growing population. He also noticed problems inherent inconventional constructiontechniques whereas natural structures seemed to have less trouble adapting to Mother Natures various issues.

The sphere is naturesmost efficient shape, covering the most living area with the least amount of surface area. When compared with a similar sized rectangularly-shaped house, the dome home will have 30 percent less surface area. A dome home will actually use about 1 /3 less lumber to build than a similar sized box house, according to Linda Boothe, owner of Oregon Dome, so even though the dome uses less material, its about five times stronger than a rectangular-shaped house. Additionally, a third less surface area means that a third less heat is transferred to and from its surroundings, saving the average dome homeowner about 30 percent or more on their average heating and cooling bill.

RELATED: DIY How to make an awesome geodesic dome gingerbread house

Well, just about. When the Loma Prieta earthquake in the Santa Cruz mountains hit in 1989, it hit 7.1 on Richter scale and over 500 conventional homes in the area were destroyed or needed extensive repair. Many more were damaged or needed major repair after the aftershocks rolled through. The only home to survive that quake in the area was an Oregon Dome geodesic dome home, Boothe said, and it was set up as a shelter for local earthquake survivors. Time and time again, dome homes have survived earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes when all other homes were destroyed. Why?

According to Boothe: You can begin to see the intrinsic strength of this design by trying the following: Nail four boards together replicating box house framing and then nail three boards together in a triangle. Youll find you can easily bend, twist, and skew the conventional square shape into many different shapes. This is what happens to your house in an earthquake. Now try to change the shape of the triangle. You cant. The triangle is the strongest shape.

also save you on building materials, making themcheaper to build. Think of it like a soap bubble. Less surface area equals less lumber which is cheaper for you all around.

Related: Solar Geodesic Dome-Covered Cob House Rises in the Far Reaches of Norway

Thedesign possibilitiesare almost endless. While it may seem odd at first to try and figure out how to design a round home, the open floor plan allows you to insert or remove walls almost anywhere. A dome home is structurally independent of interior framing, so you dont have to worry about that kitchen wall being load-bearing. Further, natural openings that occur within the construction of the dome allow for large openings and windows to the outside, letting light in throughout.

A dome home is anodd thing, certainly, and you may never see them lining the grid of regular city streets. However, every community that is hit, with tornadoes, earthquakes or hurricanes, however infrequently, would be smart to put a large dome structure near their town where they can gather and seek shelter during storms, much like the city of Tupelo, Mississippi is now doing.

According to WTVA, The shelters will be built to hold the students and faculty at Carver, Thomas Street and Joyner Schools if there is severe weather during schools hours. They will also be made available to the general public. The domes will also have extra classrooms and gym space so that they are able to be used all year long not just during severe weather.

And whats the fifth reason to build adome home? They look amazing.

Give those crazy-looking domes a second look, Boothe says. You might be surprised by the possibilities.

Lead image viaSolardome, second image viaOregon Dome, third viaRoadside Pictures.

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Geodesic domes have been built on a large scale since the 50s, but since most of them were built as tents, its easy to understand why people feel that dome homes dont make great eco homes, sustainable houses etc. The Biodomes company builds unique dome homes whose quality is one of the best in the world. Biodomes are made only from the best materials like triple pane laminated glass and a metal frame covered with concrete/aircrete or green grass roof or Structural Insulating Panels. The Biodomes are truly the eco homes of the future, built with sustainability in mind , they can be insulated to passive house standards and the customization options are many. For more information visit Biodomes website

Dome homes have many advantages, but it really depends on the design, there are so many options. Biodomes company builds earth sheltered glass domes and that might be the best solution for a pasive sustainable and modern home.

6 – the best acoustics Ive ever heard were in a geodesic home.

The previous post by Sreekumar could not be farther from the truth about domes. Having lived in more than one dome for the last 41 years along with designing over 1500 dome homes, I can speak with some authority. A dome IS cheaper to build than a typical box house when comparing similar sizes and quality of materials and fixtures. You do not need any technical expertise when building one of the many pre-cut, predesigned dome kits available around the world. Conventional houses require extensive design work to make them earthquake resistant. The dome shape by itself is earthquake resistant, high wind resistant and easily made to be extremely energy efficient. There is no wasted space in a dome as the open space in the dome becomes part of its allure, charm and beauty. Conventional houses have big attic/roof areas with lots of wasted lumber to create a strong roof. Dome homes ordinarily can span 45 to 50 / 13m to 15m without the need for additional support. Land use for domes can utilize odd shaped areas. We have many urban domes that fit on regular 50/15m lots and function just fine. 99% of our domes are using land with no more costs than conventional designs. The fifth comment shows they have not been inside many domes that are being lived in. All of our domes utilize conventional furniture, cabinets bought off the shelves of stores like IKEA. Air circulation inside a dome is fantastic, as easy air movement loves round shapes and hates square corners. I have found no limitations in designing dome interiors. The proof that domes are livable and desirable comes from the inhabitants in our domes who love dome living. We do not need to invent the many benefits of domes – they are superior to conventional boxes. My company, Natural Spaces Domes, along with many other reputable domes companies, would love to show you the inside living space that dome owners fall in love with. Get your head out of the sand and explore dome living. We will admit it is not for everybody, but that is why you have diversity in housing. Just dont prejudge a dome by its cover.

Not a wise solution. First of all it is not cheap to build a dome. The labour and technical expertise are expensive, and the cost will be more than the conventional homes. Secondly, RCC houses of conventional types are capable of resisting earthquakes, if designed properly. Thirdly, the spherical shape gives more volume at less surface area is mathematically true, but practically for houses this does not happen because of wasted spaces. Fourth, you need large plinth area for semi spherical shape, and it will add to the cost of land, which is one of the most expensive and scarce component of a house. Fifth, dome shape do not offer so many requirements in a home, to conveniently place furniture, to get air circulation inside home, etc. and it has lot of limitations. The architect is simply projecting the benefits of dome shape to prove that it is superior

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