Geodesic dome is a hemispherical thin shell structure (lattice-shell) based on geodesic polyhedron . In triangular elements domes are structurally rigid and the distribution of structural stresses throughout the structure, which makes geodesic domes able to withstand very high loads for their size.
History of Geodesic dome
The first geodesic dome was developed after World War I. The chief engineer of the optical company, Carl Zeiss, built a planetarium in this form. After that a small dome was first patented and built by Dykerhoff and Wydmann on the roof of the Zeiss factory in Jena, Germany. Even later the large dome, called the «Miracle of Jena», was opened to the public in July 1926.
Twenty years later Buckminster Fuller introduced the term «geodesic» from field experiments with artist Kenneth Snelson at Black Mountain College in 1948 and 1949. Although Fuller was not the first inventor, he is credited with popularizing the idea in the United States, for which he received U.S. Patent 2682235A, dated June 29, 1954. The oldest surviving dome built by Fuller himself is in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and was built by students under his tutelage within three weeks in 1953.
Fuller liked the geodesic dome because it was extremely strong for its weight, its «omnitriangulated» surface provided an inherently stable structure, and because the sphere covers the largest volume with the smallest surface area.
Beginning in 1954 the U.S. Marines experimented with helicopter-delivered geodesic domes . A 30-foot geodesic dome made of wood and plastic was lifted and carried by helicopter at 50 knots without damage, resulting in a standard magnesium dome made by Magnesium Products of Milwaukee.
The dome was introduced to a wider audience as the pavilion for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, designed by Thomas S. Howard of Synergetics, Inc. This dome is now used as an aviary at Queens Zoo in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
For the 1986 World’s Fair (Expo 86), the Buckminster Fuller inspired geodesic dome was designed by Expo chief architect Bruno Frerchi to serve as the fair’s exhibition center. Construction began in 1984 and was completed by early 1985. The dome and building now serve as a center for art, science and technology and were named «World of Science».
In 2000, the world’s first fully sustainable geodesic hotel dome, EcoCamp Patagonia, was built in Chilean Patagonia , opening the following year in 2001, the hotel dome design is key to resist the strong winds of the region and is based on the dwellings of the indigenous Cavescar people . Geodomes are also becoming popular as a place for glamping (glamorous camping)
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