The following article covers Geodesic Dome History.  Since ancient times scientists and astronomers endeavored to understand our starry night skies and create instruments to demonstrate their Charts of the Heavens.

In 1919, Dr. Walter Bauersfeld of the Carl Zeiss Optical Works in Jena, Germany completed construction of a hemispheric dome as a replica of the sky. He cut the vertices of highly subdivided icosahedrons in such a way that the new surfaces consisted of 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons arranged on great circles. Projectors were arranged in the center of the dome to produce 32 star fields on the dome shell.

When the complex skeleton of 3,480 struts, accurate in length to 2/1.000 of an inch was complete, Bauersfeld engaged the Dyckerhoff and Wydman Company, a leader in Ferro-cement to coat the dome sphere with several thin layers of cement to form a smooth surface which was then coated with white paint.

Basing the design on the ratio of the thickness of an egg shell to its diameter, Bauersfeld built the world’s first lightweight thin shell concrete dome.  He also produced the first dome comprised of geometric shapes which are now referred to as a geodesic dome.

Buckminster Fuller advanced the dome concept more than anyone and is known for giving the name “geodesic” to this type of polyhedral dome.

In 1976, Michael Busick, the founder of American Ingenuity, applied the polyhedral “geodesic” construction principal, in combination with the thin shell reinforced concrete technique and the use of expanded bead polystyrene (EPS) to advance the geodesic dome design even further.  For the first time a concrete dome could be built economically from a kit of component panels.  The design also exceeds all conventional housing in strength, energy efficiency and durability.

Mr. Busick’s design received a US patent in 1986. His design was a cover story in Popular Science magazine and has since received three NHBA Aurora Awards for energy efficiency, including the Aurora Grand Award and a Design Competition Award by Builder/Dealer Magazine,

Today, over eight hundred dome building kits have been shipped into 47 USA states and thirteen foreign areas.  Dome kits have been shipped from Florida to California ($6,400 shipping cost), to Tasmania by Australia (shipping cost $18,000) to Trinidad ($4,300 shipping cost). Why would a home owner pay these shipping costs?   Because they cannot build a home in their state or country that has the marvelous advantages of American Ingenuity domes…..extremely low energy costs for their home, super-strength 225 mph wind and F4 tornado warranty, noncombustible concrete exterior and experiencing the indescribable feeling of safety inside their dome.

In July of last year, the US Postal Service issued a commenorative postage stamp bearing a painting of Buckminster Fuller.  This painting originally appeared on the cover of Time Magazine January 1964 edition.

“Mr. Fuller reminds us all that America is a land of pioneers, haven for innovative thinking and the free expression of ideas.”  President Ronald Regan.

For more information visit Buckminster Fuller Institute website:  www.bfi.org

print