A geodesic dome requires no heavy equipment, uses locally fabricated materials, and delivers a strong, energy-efficient dwelling suitable for many climate zones.

GEODESIC DOMES: WHAT AND WHY?

A geodesic dome may be described as a part of a sphere constructed of multiple straight bars arranged to form triangles. The bars are called geodesics and the triangles are facets. Structurally, the geodesic dome is a space truss and is the strongest known straight-line form enclosing space.

FOUNDATION REQUIREMENTS

A 32-foot-diameter dome weighs about 25 tons. That weight usually can be carried by an edge beam 12 inches wide and 110 feet in perimeter, resulting in soil pressure less than 500 pounds per square foot.

ASSEMBLING THE DOME

Five rectangular base panels are first erected on the slab foundation. Then prestressed pentagons are mounted on top of them and braced and shored to the slab. Welded wire fabric in two layers is placed over the polystyrene panels to reinforce the geodesic dome. A hoop of reinforcing bars circles the dome to reinforce a ring beam.

The builder has a choice of three ways to apply the concrete: troweling by hand; shotcreteing; or laminating with a plaster gun.