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Geodome construction

About the construction and principle of a geodesic dome

The principle of the geodome, also known as the geodesic dome, was developed in the middle of the 20th century by the American architect Richard Buckminster Fuller. A geodome consists of triangles of different sizes that form a spherical surface. The principle is found in nature, even in the largest molecules known to exist, which were named fullerenes in honor of this inventor. It is therefore a structure that follows natural principles and is hard to beat in terms of stability and efficiency.

A soccer ball is probably the simplest and best-known form of a geodesic dome. As with classic balls, the triangles of these structures form a network of pentagons and hexagons. Although they look identical at first glance, all triangles differ in their side lengths.

The dome we built consisted of struts with 16 different lengths, which all had to be put together correctly like a puzzle. We used over 600 wooden slats in the dome, which is more than six meters high. These come from old bed slatted frames, which are an ideal building material due to their resilience, flexibility and lightness and at the same time serve as a cautionary example of our society’s wasteful lifestyle, as thousands of them end up in the garbage bin every day.

The spherical shape of the cathedral not only ensured optimum air exchange and thus a pleasant climate, but also provided a special acoustic atmosphere. A speaker standing in the center heard himself amplified due to the sound reflection.

As geodesic constructions optimally distribute loads over the entire structure and winds can hardly affect the spherical structure, they are often used in locations with harsh weather conditions. For example, in the Arctic, in hurricane regions, in space travel – or in exposed locations such as the Petersberg in Erfurt. Despite its unprotected location above the city’s rooftops, our fragile-looking lightweight structure made of thin wooden slats and old plastic sheeting was able to withstand every storm and summer thunderstorm.

Geodome construction - Images