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Buckminister Fuller & The Geodesic Dome
house that creates its own power and is heated and cooled by natural means.
Its structure can withstand earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes and does
not require exterior maintenance (i.e. painting or roofing). The unique
interior of the house is designed to include rooms with nonstructural walls
allowing for changeable floor plans, cathedral ceilings, self-vacuuming
floors, and evenly distributed light, heat and sound. This house is easy to
add on to, is available in a kit that can be erected in hours or
prefabricated and delivered by helicopter. Sound like an episode of the
Jetsons cartoon? Well, the dynamxion house was built in 1946 by Buckminister
Fuller and cost less than a third of a traditional dwelling.
Buckminister Fuller was an inventor, architect, engineer, mathematician,
author, educator, poet, philosopher, cosmologist, environmentalist, and
visionary humanist. Often, referred to as "a 20th Century Da Vinci, a modern
Ben Franklin, and a jet-age Emerson" (Documentary "Buckminister Fuller:
Thinking Out Loud" by American Masters). Bucky, as he is sometimes
affectionately called, was an early environmentalist, who understood the
finite nature of the earth's resources. He was an enduring optimist, who
realized that technology could solve global issues, especially regarding
housing and transportation. Buckminister believed that every human being
should have access to affordable mass produced housing. He was determined to
transform the housing market by designing and constructing structures based
on the concept of maximum efficiency with minimum cost.
Buckminister Fuller is best known for creating the geodesic dome, which he
utilized in all his architectural designs. Geodesic domes enclose the
greatest volume with the least surface area because of their spherical
shape. Basically, a geodesic dome is built out of interlocking triangles
that brace one another requiring no other structural supports. "Local loads
are distributed throughout the geodesic dome, utilizing the entire
structure. Geodesic domes get stronger, and cheaper per unit of volume as
their size increases--just the opposite of conventional building" (J.
Baldwing, see links below). Buckminister's geodesic domes are used around
the globe, from the South Pole to the arctic, in some of the most extreme
climates and altitudes. They have been proven, time and time again, to be
one of the strongest structures ever devised. Accordingly, an earthquake
would have to split the ground and swallow the dome to destroy it.
advantages associated with geodesic dome design over traditional "box"
shaped dwellings include:
Energy efficiency. Geodesic domes work well with alternate energy
sources, such as solar panels, and due to their perfect shape evenly
distribute heat and/or air-conditioning. Homeowners can save up to 50%
on energy costs using present popular power sources.
Environmentally sound. Domes require about 40% less building
materials than conventional buildings. From the production of material
to the construction of the dome, less natural resources, less energy,
and less labor is used with minimal disturbance to the natural
Easy orientation. Domes can be orientated on a lot in virtually
any direction for a great view and optimum sun exposure.
Superior strength. Domes can withstand extreme climatic
conditions, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and heavy snow loads.
Spacious interiors. When you walk into a geodesic dome you
experience an open airy sensation without feeling confined or boxed in.
Ceiling skylights add to the impression of overall comfort and
spaciousness as you watch the clouds move by. Some domes have ceilings
over 28 feet in height with balconies that overlook the downstairs
Changeable floor plans. Interior floor plans are almost limitless
because they are not dependent on loadbearing walls to support the roof
as in traditionally shaped housing.
Superior light and sound characteristics. Spherical shapes
amplify light (it is actually brighter inside a dome than outside in
many cases). Sound is distributed evenly, with approximately 30% less
outside noise infiltration.
Easy to add on to. Why renovate? Domes can be easily expanded as
your family grows. Another dome or clusters of domes can be added with
little forethought and without the worry of conventional remodeling
where loadbearing walls and roof trusses are a concern. Up to 50% of the
lowest ring of triangles can be removed to add doors, walls, or windows.
For example, garages, porches, green houses, solariums, pools, and
dining coves, can be attached.
Minimal upkeep. Geodesic domes do not need upkeep like
conventional structures. Exterior painting and/or roofing, depending on
the materials used, may not be required.
Varying floor levels and ceiling heights. Foundations can be
added to create another lower floor, lofts can be added with riser walls
to increase useable headspace.
Economical. Domes can be purchased in a do-it-yourself
standardized kit format and are widely available throughout Canada and
the United States.
Fuller: Thinking out Loud", by American Masters. This site is about a
documentary made on Buckminister Fuller. It is informative with actual video
clips and great articles written by J. Baldwing. http://worldtrans.org/whole/bucky.html provides
a list of books written by Buckminister Fuller and other resource material,
as well as, useful links.
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