ARCHITECTURE: Geodesic Domes.

From: IN%"[email protected]" "List for the discussion of Buckminster Fulle
s works" 20-JUN-1992 20:42:53.28
To: Howard Lawrence <[email protected]>
Subj: RE: Question: efficient use of geo's ?

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Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1992 19:14:56 -0400
From: Garym <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: Question: efficient use of geo's ?
Sender: List for the discussion of Buckminster Fuller's works
<[email protected]>
To: Howard Lawrence <[email protected]>
Reply-to: List for the discussion of Buckminster Fuller's works
<[email protected]>

In a message dated Sat 20 Jun 92 8:55, [email protected] wrote:

UCP> much more efficient structure to build and maintain than your
UCP> average
UCP> traditional frame house. i am going to build a house and am
UCP> considering
UCP> a geo. less building cost/square footage, cheaper to heat/cool, and
UCP> a really
UCP> neat house to boot. living in nebraska, i don't see very many geo's
UCP> around,
UCP> and if i do see one, it's usually a church or some type of office
UCP> bldg. is it
UCP> because of the radical design and it's out of the norm that people
UCP> don't
UCP> build geo's ? just wondering...ANYBODY OUT THERE ? ? ? ? ? ?

You have a good question, and one I am sure most newcomers ponder,
especially when faced with the absurd cost of an old technology house, but
there is a very serious caveat:

Geodesic domes require a high degree of precision.

If you are building just one, you will run into the same problem which
plagued most of the models in the 'Dome Book' series: you will be spending
far too much time on the precision and lose your shirt building your

Consider the "home of the future" the Rome World's Fair asked Bucky about.
His quote was half a million. Not surprisingly, the response came back,
"Half a million for a single domestic dwelling?!" Like a silicon chip, the
first costs a fortune, but copies are dirt cheap. To build one house takes
the same amount of tooling as building a thousand, and in geodesics, it is
the fine precision of the tooling that prevents one-of-a-kind manufacture.
This was why Bucky always spoke of using aircraft technology, and proposed
(and prototyped) building homes out of aluminum (to be recycled and more
efficiently used in the next version, thanks to ephemerialization)

Now, in our world, 12 years post-Bucky, it _may_ be possible to use our
advanced computer-aided-design and CAD-driven tooling to create a unique
dome-icile, but we still have the same meta-problem: now we need to tool up
for generic tooling-up for home building. We could probably also benefit
from using our high-impact plastics (cheaper to mould but more expensive
per pound) and I have often dreamed of using wood moulds to make a hex-pent
style dome from fibreglass, again, the dies will be the major expense, but
being out of wood, the cost is directly the mould itself and not the
machinery to churn it out --- it _could_ be done by hand. A hobby maybe,
but hardly an industry.

There's my two cents. In an old TrimTab, there was a fellow in Florida who
had completed his masters thesis on building dymaxion homes, and when I
contacted him for info, he mentioned he was working on a business-plan and
real commercial designs to be unveiled at some trade show ... but I never
heard another word and my mail went unanswered. As a father of three in a
single income family, I would dearly love to get that same 1/10th cost
house Bucky offered in 1945.

Any other comments, warnings, chastizements or success stories?

-- Via DLG Pro v0.992

Gary Lawrence Murphy -- [email protected] -- (613) 230-6255
"The view from the high mountain is worth the climb" - Dr. Morita Shoma
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