You may recognize the geodesic home from movies like Bio-Dome and real dome buildings like Spaceship Earth at Epcot in Disney World. But there’s more to them than a novelty. Geodesic homes are real and offer many benefits.
They shouldn’t be put in a box reserved for those who want a more natural lifestyle or for people who have an eccentric side. Geodesic homes just may be the future and should be treated as a genuine option for anyone.
What Is A Geodesic Dome?
A geodesic dome is a hemispherical structure that is based on the geodesic polyhedron. The dome is made with many triangle pieces to create a nearly-spherical shape. The shape is often used for greenhouses and gardens, but rare in residential homes.
That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be, however. Geodesic dome homes are becoming more and more popular for all the best reasons. After all, they make the perfect home for solar panels as you can place the panels at any angle.
The First Geodesic Dome
The first geodesic dome was designed after World War I by Walther Bauersfeld, Walther was the chief engineer of the Carl Zeiss optical company. The dome was designed for a planetarium to house his planetarium projector.
That dome is no longer standing, but another build in 1953 still stands in Woods Hole, Massachusetts today. That’s right, the first geodesic dome wasn’t even built until the 1900s, so even still, it’s a rather new concept.
Reasons People Love Geodesic Dome Homes
Some people are obsessed with geodesic homes. But why? Are they better than standard homes? Maybe, maybe not. It really all comes down to preference. These are the reasons some people prefer geodesic dome homes.
Whether you believe in conserving energy or not, it’s something we need to consider. Doing so helps the economy, the planet, and our pockets. Who doesn’t want a lower energy bill each month? No one can say no to that.
Because of their shape, geodesic domes have more efficient air circulation and keep temperatures even throughout the structure. This is because round structures don’t have as many pockets or corners as other structures.
The surface area of a round home is less on the exterior than other homes. So you will pay about 30% less for the same square footage than you would a square or rectangle home. This saves a significant amount of money.
You can build your home for far less if you do it right because you aren’t wasting money on space that you won’t use. You can pay less for that 1500 square foot home as far as materials are concerned.
They Can Rotate
You read that right. Geodesic homes can be built on rotating platforms. If done right, this can be amazing. One man built his on a rotating platform in order to chase the shade of a daytime. But there are many reasons to do so.
You won’t get more different than a geodesic home. Very few people are lucky enough to have one. Most people, even contractors, have no idea where to start when building one. So they are very rare.
If you have the opportunity to build one and can afford it, there’s really no reason not to. Take the opportunity and create a masterpiece. You can always resell later.
Design It Any Way
Geodesic homes have a lot of room to design them in a unique way. They have the ability to look very modern, retro, or rustic. You can leave them open-concept or divide them up. Just because they’re rare, doesn’t mean they can only be designed one way.
You can find amazing inspirational homes online by searching for geodesic homes using your own design style. Contemporary geodesic homes are quite popular as contemporary designs use geometric shapes.
You can literally put only windows instead of walls in a geodesic home if you want to. Because there are so many small pieces, you can exchange almost any of them for windows. Even create unique window shapes.
Doing so will do little to make your home less safe, especially if you use strong windows. It will let in more light and give your home a natural feel. More windows are usually a good thing.
Safe From Disaster
This is one of the first nearly earthquake-proof home designs. Tests have proven this to be true and so have real stories of geodesic homes being the only ones standing after an intense earthquake. This is amazing news.
This also means that they are resistant to other natural disasters. You can build one to withstand almost anything and work as a community storm shelter.
Geodesic Dome Home Glamping
One of the most popular ways that geodesic dome homes are used today is in geodesic dome glamping. Glamping is a fancy way to camp. So geodesic tents are sold to glampers who want to make the most out of their camping experience.
Reasons People Don’t Build Geodesic
Geodesic homes aren’t perfect. They do have their downfalls, as every type of home does. These are the thing people don’t like about geodesic homes. You’ll notice it is less than the things people love about them.
Difficult To Build
Geodesic homes are not easy to build. You can’t DIY a geodesic home, but will instead need to hire a specialist to design and construct it. This can be a great learning experience but will not be cheap. These homes aren’t simple in that way.
So Many Triangles To Cut
Although the surface area is lower, unless you do it right, you could waste a lot of materials on the wrong cuts. It’s important to plan out every cut beforehand because you cut the wrong angle and you’ll waste half your materials.
So measuring twice, cutting once is even more important now. Each triangle needs to be perfect or they won’t all fit together.
No Add Ons
Although add-ons are possible, they kind of defeat the purpose of a geodesic home. Adding chimneys, square rooms, and other things can take away all of the pros and benefits of a geodesic dome home. So keep it round.
You can add-on to geodesic homes properly by adding other round domes. This will make your home look more like a community itself than a single-family home, but works perfectly for multi-family homes.
How Much Does A Geodesic Dome Home Cost?
Geodesic dome home kits can be purchased for $50,000. This seems like a steal until you realize you’ll need help putting it together. Most companies will charge $80 per square foot if you built it yourself and up to $200 per square foot for them to build it.
Since the average price to build a house is between $100 and $150, you can assume that you’ll pay more for a geodesic dome home than a normal house. There are three main things to consider that can raise the price of your geodesic dome home.
Basements: basements and lower levels add a lot to the cost. But this is primarily if you pour concrete for them or if you want them finished. If you want to install lighting, water, waterproof, insulation, and more, then it will cost more.
Kitchens: kitchens are the biggest cost when it comes to interiors. Living room furniture can be expensive but it’s nothing compared to the necessities of a kitchen. That said, the range here is so great that you have to be specific to get a good quote.
Find out more about kitchen prices and average home cost here where we break down the cost of each room and each item.
Bathrooms: much like a kitchen, a bathroom needs to be considered. Do you want four appliances or a half-bath? If you’re off-the-grid, you may not want an indoor bathroom at all, or at least not want indoor plumbing.
These are a few of the main things to consider with a geodesic dome home. What are you looking for? Put yourself on a scale for each room and to get a more accurate quote from contractors who are willing to help.
Monolithic Dome Homes
Some people confuse geodesic dome homes and monolithic dome homes. Monolithic dome homes differ as they are one solid piece usually made from concrete. They are quite sturdy and look very similar to geodesic dome homes.
They definitely require an expert to build as the concrete needs applied in layers and will have to be made perfectly round to be effective. If you like the geodesic look but prefer concrete, they are a great option.
It starts with a round concrete foundation, which is pretty basic. Then, an inflatable membrane is placed on it. This works to build a mold made out of polyurethane which is sprayed onto it. Then, a rebar is placed to create a round frame.
This rebar has electric wiring and plumbing added before the concrete layers are added to it. This is fairly simple but takes time, patience, and knowledge. After this step, all that’s left is the interior walls and paint.
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