The geodesic dome was patented in 1954 by Buckminster Fuller. America was suffering a housing shortage in the years after World War II.
Fuller was searching for ways to build inexpensive, efficient houses for the booming population.
The geodesic design has several points which recommend it over traditional rectangular construction:
- The geodesic dome is based on a
triangle, rather than a rectangle. A triangle is about twice as strong
at resisting compression stresses compared to a rectangle.
- Triangles can be linked together to
create a sphere. This sphere meets Fuller's idea of doing "more with less"
- A sphere encloses the largest amount
of interior volume with the least amount of surface area.
- Dome structures are energy efficient:
- They are self-supporting
structures, so that air can circulate freely allowing heating and
cooling to occur naturally.
- Decreased surface area requires
fewer building materials
- Decreased surface area per unit
of volume means decreased heat transfer during winter and summer weather
- Concave interior surfaces creates
a natural air flow allowing heating and cooling to be more even.
- Wind turbulence is reduced which
reduces heat loss
- The concave shape helps to
reflect heat back into the structure and reduce heat loss.