people talk about domes and residential construction
there are two types that are common: Geodesic and
Monolithic. Geodesic domes were invented by R. Buckminster
Fuller in the 1950's. The Monolithic domes were put
into practical use in the 1980's.
Both Geodesic domes and Monolithic share some of the
same virtues: The are both incredibly strong, energy
efficient, and can be economical to build.
Monolithic domes are
a more recent trend in the residential construction
market. the are created by first creating a thin membrane
which is attached to foundation walls. The membrane
isa spherical shape. The membrane is blown up like
a tent using a fan. Insulation is sprayed on the interior
of the shell to a thickness of 2-3 inches. Rebar is
attached to the insulation. Light-weight concrete
is then blown on to a thickness of 2-3 inches. The
fans which inflate the membrane can be turned off
after the insulation hardens. Monolithic domes can
be built as large as 800 feet in diameter. They are
used most commonly for industrial and commercial applications.
Geodesic domes have
been popular with over 300,000 built world wide. They
are a sphere made from triangular shapes similar to
the construction pattern of a soccer ball. They are
often sold in kit form for the Do-it-yourselfer. Pieces
of 2 x 6 lumber are cut and assembled with metal brackets.
The Geodesic dome was invented by Buckminster Fuller
in the 1950's.
Advantages- Incredibly strong, can withstand force
5 hurricane, excellent insulator (save up to 50% on
heating/cooling), Tornado and hurricane resistant
(not a typo), impervious to insects, fire, rot, will
last between 100-500 years. No interior posts the
structure is free standing.
Disadvantages- Getting building permits may be more
complicated, Resale value may suffer, they probably
don't meet most neighborhood building covenants.
Advantages- Very strong, excellent insulator, easier
for the Do-it-yourselfer, free standing, no interior
bearing point loads.
Disadvantages- Resale value is suspect, Building permits
may be more difficult to obtain, probably don't meet
most neighborhood building covenants.
Dome Technology is the world leader in monolithic
domes. They build domes all over the world. They can
also build a house with a dome structure. Domes are
one of the few structures that can be engineered to
withstand category 4 and 5 level hurricanes.
Here is a site with excellent information for the
Do-it-yourself person... Very interesting!
This company has been around for a long time. It also
a site that has some very good Geodesic designs.
Manufacturers and Consultants
Here is an extensive list of Geodesic Dome builders.
Here is some excellent information on Geodesic domes
for the owner builder. Nice pictures and diagrams.