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Dome homes have proven to be as sturdy as they are beautiful which is why so many people are finding themselves drawn to the idea of building their own dome house. It is for such people that this little community was created.
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Dome homes :Strength and Beauty
Stumbling on a site, ad or article that promises to teach you how to make your own dome house is bound to be appealing given today's economy and if not appealing, then at least something that peaks one's curiosity. Do you know what a dome home is? And if so, do you know the history of how they came to be and what it is that makes them so great? Read on and be amazed by the history of dome homes and the amazing story of how one proved its worth by remaining standing when no other house could.
The dome home started in the imagination of a true American visionary: R. Buckminster Fuller.
“Bucky” Fuller was referred to by Marshall McLuhan as “the Leonardo da Vinci of our times.” Fuller was born in Massachusetts in 1895, and became known throughout the 20th century as a man of many talents: artist, mathematician, geographer, poet, visionary, designer, writer, architect, philosopher, futurist, machinist, and sailor, among other descriptions.
His greatest contribution was his discovery, in nature, of a kind of four-dimensional geometry that he spent most of his life and work demonstrating. One of the key structures of his “Synergetic Geometry” – his lifelong study of how nature designs itself -- is the geodesic dome on which dome homes are based. Lightweight, cost-effective and easy to assemble, geodesic domes enclose more space without intrusive supporting columns than any other structure, efficiently distribute stress, and can withstand extremely harsh conditions. Based on Fuller's "synergetic geometry," his lifelong exploration of nature's principles of design, the geodesic dome was the result of his revolutionary discoveries about balancing compression and tension forces in building.
Fuller and his wife, Anne Hewlett Fuller, lived in the first dome home ever built in Carbondale, IL, while he taught at the University of Illinois. They lived there from 1960 until 1972. Sadly, that home has fallen into disrepair, although there is a strong movement among Fullerites to have the home restored to become the site of an institute on sustainable architecture.
Fuller’s geodesic dome has been translated into a home-building industry that in recent years has focused on the design’s sustainability, strength and economy. A dome home is the only human habitation that actually gets stronger, lighter in density and cheaper per square foot as it gets bigger. Nearly a quarter million of such dome homes exist today.
A dome home is typically a prefabricated building with a small number of parts. Some domes are made from kits of expanded polystyrene, a type of foam made only of carbon and hydrogen. Each piece of the dome is lightweight and easy to carry, making for easy assembly. Sustainability advocates particularly like the facts that a dome home doesn’t produce construction waste such as scrap wood and sawdust, and that its building material doesn’t involve deforestation.
One of the biggest proven advantages of a dome home, however, has been its strength. Part of its strength is because it combines two of the strongest forms in nature, triangles and spheres. Their aerodynamic structure causes winds to flow over and around them.
A dome home in Miami, Florida, survived a direct hit from Hurricane Andrew in 1992 while the enormous storm flattened much of the surrounding houses. The home was even hit by a projectile, a steel horse trailer, during the storm and suffered minimal damage. Computer models from that home’s builder showed dome homes surviving winds up to 230 mph. Similar dome homes made of steel-reinforced concrete have been shown to withstand 150-mph wind, 80-lb snow loads and earthquakes measuring 9 on the Richter scale (catastrophic devastation).