The Dome Calculator There’s a form on this page where you enter the diameter of your proposed dome and it will calculate for you the length and number of struts, and number and specs of connectors. The calculator works for 1v (a plain icosahedron), 2v, 3v, 4v, 5v, or 6v dome structures. (The “v” stands for “frequency.”) Thanks to Cathryn Martin for the tip.
Cat’s ‘Crete Collection A comprehensive cornucopia of concrete culture collected and compiled by Cat. If you have questions about building a dome using concrete, chances are there’s an answer for you in this list of links researched by DomeHome subscriber Cathryn Martin. (There are also a few links about other materials, including fiberglass.)
C & R Enterprises’ Web site Roger & Carol Partipilo’s Web site You can see an animation of a dome being built, and find out about their dome home projects book and CD-ROM.
Dome Basics Here are a couple of URLs with pictures and down-to-earth explanations of dome terms; some dome math. (Go to their “Dome Basics” page.) Thanks to Janet Snow for these URLs.
Passive Solar Dome This paper by Nick Pine, of Villanova University, talks in matter-of-fact terms about how to design and build a dome that makes good use of solar radiation. Very good reading. Thanks to Ernie Aiken and Joe S. Moore.
Dome Cost Estimates Ingrid Buxton contributes this Web site that gives cost estimates for dome construction and finishing. Here’s contact info:

Energy Structures, Inc.
893 Wilson Ave.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55106
(800) 334-8144
(651) 772-3559
(651) 772-1207 (Fax)

Geodesic domes plans and technologies This is the website of an architect who specializes in geodesic dome design and construction. Some great photographs, beautiful computer-generated pictures, and lots of good descriptive text. The photos show details of dome construction. In French and Englishversions. Thanks to Cathryn Martin for the tip.
Polyhedral Models This Web page contains plans and diagrams for several interesting geodesic shapes. Print out the drawings and use them as templates. Instructions are included. Contributed by Jay Salsburg.
Geodesic Clubhouse Here’s a family-oriented way to begin realizing domes quickly and without a great deal of expense. The plans are pretty straightforward, and the neat thing is the whole family can do this and see a dome at the end of the project. Thanks to Cathryn Martin for the tip.
Chuck Hoberman’s Unfolding Structures Unfolding Structures are objects that smoothly transform in size and shape. As you may surmise from seeing a reference to them here, many of these shapes are dome-like. Based on the patented inventions of Chuck Hoberman. Thanks to Cathryn Martin for the tip.
Michael J. Gourlay’s Design and Implementationfor a Geodesic Dome This is an excellent introduction to geodesic design principles… and a great “quick start” for anyone who wants to get started building geodesic structures and pick up the concepts along the way. It explains the ratio of the lengths of different struts in a way that will allow the do-it-yourselfer to calculate lengths for different sized domes. Also explains the meaning of the term “frequency” as used by domebuilders.This information is presented in the context of structures designed for implementation at theBurning Man festival. A very good read.
Dome On The Range Read this article from Austin 360 about Monolithic Domes, in Italy, Texas. Includes some fun photos.
Dome-Raising Pictures Dennis Johnson of Natural Spaces Domes documented the progress of a dome-raising that took place on Topsail Island, North Carolina. They had a digital camera on-site and during the first two days, they posted picture updates every couple of hours.
Ontario’s Cinesphere Housed in a triodetic-domed structure, Cinesphere was opened in 1971 as one of the world’s most advanced theatres. It was built to “create a space capable of housing the existing and the future scope of film.” Cinesphere stands as the first permanent IMAX film theatre in the world. Thanks to Ernie Aiken for the reference.
Rick Bono’s Applied Synergetics Home Page Lots of links to other sites, and other source material and resources, as well; some beautiful graphics, including an animated gif of a rotating tensegrity sphere. You can download the latest version of Rick’s Dome software, a 3D dome-modeling application that outputs a script that can be used with the POV-ray raytracer to produce some stunning 3D pictures of domes and dome geometry. Dome is available in DOS, Macintosh and Un*x versions. Warning: The site has some large graphics that can take a while to come in if you have a slow connection… but it’s worth the wait.
Joe S. Moore’s Buckminster Fuller Virtual Institute A website dedicated to the works of Buckminster Fuller. Contains a Master Index of Fuller’s writings, an overview of Fuller’s ideas, a glossary, a bibliography and a long alphabetical list of links to related sites and topics.Of particular interest is the page devoted to Fuller’s Grand Strategy for solving global problems.
Kirby Urner’s Synergetics on the Web A wealth of information about Synergetics, the “invention behind the inventions”… the system of thinking from which geodesic domes, among many others of Buckminster Fuller’s inventions, were derived.And check out the Dwelling Machine Prototypes
Also at Synergetics
on the Web:
a page about
Kenneth Snelson:
Kenneth Snelson is an American sculptor whose space-framing concepts and models inspired Fuller to coin the word “tensegrity”; Fuller applied Snelson’s model to geodesics, from which cross-fertilization arose the tensegrity sphere. There are some good pictures of Snelson’s works on this page, and links to some very interesting accounts of Snelson’s unhappy history with Fuller.
Robert Conroy’sStructural Elements Includes some great pictures and explanatory text, and a VERY comprehensive list of dome-related links — not just commercial ones, but some very interesting personal Web pages. There’s a lot here about building with concrete, and the use of elastomeric sealants. There’s also a page of energy calculations. Robert explains it thus:

I have uploaded energy calculations for a 24-foot dome. The calculations can be used for any structure as long as such things as area, thickness and volumes are changed accordingly. In this particular design, I match the energy requirements on an average Kansas City, Missouri, January day with the energy input of 3 combined renewable energy systems on an average clear January day.

Michael Rader’sGeodesic Domes – Structures and Homes Lots of good information about geodesics and domebuilding, including books and source material and dome chord factors. A strong and well-indexed list of manufacturers. Also includes a list of model-kit manufacturers and lots of Web links. Until Fall of 1997, Michael Rader served as Moderator of the DomeHome List.
David Anderson’sMonkey House Don’t let the name throw you… David’s not just monkeying around. There’s a very good explanation of geodesic math, including diagrams. Want to know how to calculate chord lengths? Or the angles between dome members?
Gerald de Jong’s
Struck is a modeling program that lets the user explore a new approach to solid geometry. Very useful for modeling (and understanding) geodesic structures. Gerald writes:

An idea struck me a number of years ago. I wondered what it would be like to build volumetric structures using springy things instead of rigid things. It seemed so simple. Why was this kind of thinking not common? After a number of years of gestation, the idea began to take over my thinking and I was possessed. I built a piece of computer-aided-design software using JAVA to realize this building process, and called the software ” Struck“.

If your browser is up to running a Java applet, you can watch the structures breathe and flex.
There are also some beautiful still pictures in the gallery.

George Hart’s
Pavilion of Polyhedreality
Some stunning and fanciful pictures of structures that exhibit geodesic principles.
The World Game Institute A 25-year-old not-for-profit education and research organization whose mission is to supply the perspective and information needed to solve the critical problems facing global society as we enter the twenty-first century.
WorldWide Domes Lots of links to lots of different kinds of dome construction methods.
Robert W. Gray’s Home Page Robert Gray maintains a few sites of interest to dome aficionados, including a Buckminster Fuller Synergetics site, and a pillow domes site for the purpose of continuing Jay Baldwin’s work with Pillow Domes. (You may have read about them in Baldwin’s book, Buckyworks.)
Findhorn Foundation’s Universal Hall Designed by British architect, George Ripley, the building has a hand-carved stone exterior facing, a magnificent stained glass entrance, and a geodesic roof construction. Five enormous wooden ring beams (encased in hessian) hold up the roof and large numbers of smooth beach stones weight it down and stabilise it.

Links to Some Vendors of Domes and Dome-Related Products

Know of others we should add to the list? Please drop me a line.
Dome Incorporated Blair Wolfram writes:

Dome Inc. manufactures both steel frame and wood frame hub and strut domes any profile, up to 6 frequency up to 74′ diameter. To date I have built, sold or manufactured about 175 domes as primary residences. We have built at least that many as other applications such as gazebos and jungle gyms. We manufacture only dome shells and custom glass triangular sky lights, and are general contractors. Significant domes include inside the Science Museum of Minnesota and the restoration and enclosure dome for Buckminster Fuller’s only personal dome home.

zDomes Jonathan Zimmerman is an architect specializing in the design of concrete domes, for over 25 years. Articles about his work have been published in Solar Today, Popular Science, and Design International.
Ernie Aiken’s Worldflower Garden Domes Mission: to make domes a practical and affordable alternative structure. The Web site features an online catalog, a monthly newsletter, lots of explanatory text about domes, and lots and lots of pictures.
John W. Rich Here are the calculations posted to the List by New Zealand subscriber John Rich, comparing construction elements based on a superellipse with those based on a sphere.John’s also sent us a veritable cornucopia of images of some of the non-spherical domes he’s designed and built… pictures of the domes being built, as well as of the finished products, interiors and exteriors. Thanks, John!
Solardome Industries, Ltd. Technically the most advanced greenhouses in the world, Solardomes simply utilise the sun’s energy efficiently. Their unique construction means that there are always two panes of glass directly at right angles to the sun’s rays, at all times of the day and all the year ’round. This UK company’s Web site has some nice pictures and an online catalog.
Energy Structures, Inc. Energy Structures, Inc., designs, manufactures and markets geodesic dome kits for homes, garages, cabins, churches and commercial structures. The website includes an online catalog, plans and prices, and sections on interiors and exteriors.
Natural Habitat Domes Contact information:

Darrel Mand
Natural Habitat Domes
N4981 County Road S
Plymouth, WI. 53073920-893-5308
Fax: 920-892-2380

List subscriber Ingrid Buxton writes:

He builds both residential and commercial domes. In business since 1965. Designs, builds and ships dome shell kits. Locally he is on site when the dome is put up. The pre-sheathed dome shells are typically put up in one day.

Domespace …”The round house that turns with the sunlight.” This French company has its own unique “spin” on domebuilding. The link here is to the English version of their Web site. Nice pictures.
Littlewood Geodesic Domes Littlewood Geodesic Domes is presently selling spacious low cost relocatable shelters. Built from construction grade 2x4s bolted to plywood joiner plates, they offer a rigid weathertight shelter that can be erected in one or two days.
GeoDomes Woodworks Wally Day writes:

Anyone really interested in modular “cluster” dome designs should check out Geodomes Woodworks. They have a number of designs with up to six domes as part of a cluster. They also have a unique shed style building that can be integrated into a cluster.

GeoDomes Woodworks
6876 Indiana Avenue, Suite L
Riverside, CA 92514
Tel: 909-787-8800
Fax: 909-787-7089

The Dome Company Rob Lusher’s website about his company based in Sydney, Australia. Lots of cool pictures, lots of ideas. Rob offers a 45-page do-it-yourself manual providing step-by-step instructions on how to build a variety of geodesic structures. Plans are also available.
Oregon Domes Flexible spaces for active lifestyles. Recently presented with the KOKO Award, for providing the world with environmental solutions.
Monolithic Domes An insulated, thin-shell concrete structure; extremely energy efficient, strong, fire-safe, and lasts for centuries.
American Ingenuity
Dome Homes
Dome kits pre-manufactured using steel-mesh-reinforced concrete panels.
Natural Spaces Domes Dennis Johnson designs, manufactures & constructs wood frame, patented hub & strut dome building system featuring ultra-insulation with R-values from R-44 to R-70. Specialize in resource efficient, environmentally healthy domes. Dome tours, dome construction schools, vacation beach dome for rent.
Triodetic Building Products Ltd A design firm that promotes spaceframe construction for multiple uses, using a patented Triodetic hub and strut assembly system. One feature of this system is that it allows horizontal struts that are parallel, also known as “parallel tropics.” This system will form any possible geometry, including: flat grids, domes, cylindrical shells, folded plate, circular grids, toroids, pyramids, conoids, barrel vaults (arches) and hypars (hyperbolic paraboloids).
Lotus Domes Richard Fairbanks proposes “…a new form of architecture designed for environmentally progressive facilities.”
Lydick’s Domes Unlimited was founded in 1983 by Jack and Linda Lydick after being involved in the construction industry for 12 years. Lydick’s Domes offers domes manufactured by Oregon Dome Inc.Originally opened to serve Western Pennsylvania, they have now erected domes in Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Vermont, and South Carolina. They are now capable of world wide delivery and support. All of their domes are wood frame, wood sheathed, panelized structures.
Shelter Systems Innovative Living and Gardening Shelters. Many shapes and sizes to 20 feet in diameter. Up in only 30 minutes! Portable and Affordable. They offer a little item called the Grip Clip, for attaching flexible plastic sheathing to PVC and metal pipe structures.
Thanks to Granville Angell for the tip!
Geodesic Domes and Homes … in Whitehouse, Texas. Some good pictures of interiors and exteriors, and some very interesting pictures showing how well domes weather storms that flatten their neighbors.
Timberline Geodesic Domes For more than 25 years, they’ve designed dome packages that make it easy, practical and affordable for people to construct their own homes. (Be prepared to wait while this Web site loads a Java applet that scrolls text across a box on the screen.)

Well, gee… these aren’t about domes, but…

… they might be of interest to all kinds of home builders, as well as those interested in alternative or environmentally responsible living.
GreenClips Sustainable design consultant Chris Hammer publishes GreenClips in San Francisco. Ms. Hammer helps her clients with environmentally responsible approaches to urban planning and development, and to building design, construction, and operation. GreenClips is written by Chris Hammer and Jennifer Roberts. Back issues are available. To contact the publisher, email or telephone 415.928.7941.
Information onstrawbale building and sustainable living:
DomeHome subscriber Susan Tait has contributed an excellent collection of links to Web sites about strawbale building and other sustainable living information. There’s far too much info there to put on this page… so I’ve created a separate page for it. Thanks, Sue!
Information on water and wastewater system design:
Oasis Design
Dennis Odin Johnson, of Natural Spaces Domes, contributes:

The definitive books on greywater systems, ecological systems design consulting; edible landscaping, water & wastewater systems, bicycles, ecological economics, industrial design …Also of interest to this group might be this site on organic weed control,natural fertilizers and organic pond treatments:

Information on home insurance:
Quicken InsureMarket
List subscriber Cathryn Martin passes along this information about home insurance, always an issue for domeowners. She got this response to her query:

To best answer your specific home insurance question, we can refer you to one of our participating insurance companies’ customer service centers to connect you with a licensed agent in your area. For contact information on participating insurance companies, please refer to the company links accessible from the Quicken InsureMarket home page.

Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder Here’s a different use for the dome shape. Simon Sunatori has designed a bird feeder that squirrels can’t raid. He writes:

Squirrels never succeeded in beating my Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder Device in 2 years, except for 1 (one) occassion when the snow bank was 1 metre high.Besides house sparrows, the birdfeeder attracts blue jays and cardinals every day. There is a diagram and a couple of photos at the URL below. The big problem is that I have to refill it every 2 days!

If you are interested in this device, you can leave your name at the website and when the requisite number of people have signed up, the device will go into production.

HGTV The Home and Garden TV channel maintains a website where you can search their database of programming.
Sustainable Sources Sustainable Sources’ goal is to provide a solutions-based environmental site. They offer practical options to the conventional methods of building, community, travel, and more.
The American Bamboo Society Not really dome-related, except that you can build domes with bamboo. There are links to sites where you can see pictures of some simply amazing structures built with bamboo.
Oceania The Web site of Oceania – The Atlantis Project.
Simply Build Green Simply Build Green is a detailed description of the theory, practice and products used in the Ecological Village Project at Findhorn. It is a combination of standard building techniques and methods, such as foundations and framing necessary to good quality housing and the basic philosophy of ecological building and its application.
Sound Home Resource Center Glossary A handy online guide to the common (and not so common) construction terms. Includes line-drawing illustrations and links to other resources.
The Electronic Blue Book of Building and Construction A listing of advertiser classifications from all over the US.
FOR A BETTER LIVING SPACE A Preliminary Study On Green Environmental Protection Buildings by Liao Ke Mei.
Strawbale Mailing List Archive Archives of a mailing list about building with strawbales. A lot of the building materials and techniques seem to overlap domebuilding.
Rachel’s Environment and Health Weekly “Providing news and resources for environmental justice.”An up-to-date, searchable archive of a weekly newsletter published by the Environmental Research Foundation, of Annapolis, Maryland.
Environmental Building News “The leading newsletter on environmentally responsible design and construction.”A prime resource on energy-efficient, resource-efficient, and healthy building practices.
Eagle Research Eagle-Research is a non-profit organization that develops and distributes practical energy solutions; practical solutions, patent-free energy technology, energy conservation, sharing information, energy self-sufficiency, environmental sustainability.
Thanks to Clark Thomas for the tip!
Weather-Bos. Weather-Bos manufactures a line of environmentally-safe stains, paints and surface coatings.
Reinke Shakes, Inc.
…manufactures an aluminum shingle that is ideal for domes. They have withstood baseball-sized hail and very high winds with little or no damage. Contact:
Bob Reinke.
210 S 4th St
Hebron, NB 68370
Thanks to Jack Rhinehart for the tip.
The David Suzuki Foundation. The David Suzuki Foundation is an environmental non-profit organization registered in Canada, working to design a vision of Earth in which humans live within the planet’s productive capacity, and finding and communicating practical steps to bring that vision to reality.
Contributed by Ken G. Brown
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, this site contains an InfoSeek search engine and links to such related topics as earth-sheltered homes. I tried a search on “geodesic” and was rewarded with 13 hits — and this list of articles came from just one of them:

  • “Airformed Concrete Shells,” J. Zimmerman, Solar Today, (6:5) pp. 21-23, September/October 1992.
  • “A Bubble on the World,” L. Dillon, Oregon Business, (No. 15) pp. 49-52, August 1992.
  • “Dome Home from Silo Parts,” E. Ortner, Popular Science, (220:68) p. 12., March 1982.
  • “A Dome of Your Own,” S. Holm, Rodale’s New Shelter, (4:6) pp. 72-73, July/August 1983.
  • “Energy-Efficient Dome Home,” D. Haupert, Better Homes and Gardens, (61:73) p. 7, June 1983.
  • “Low-Energy House,” P. Zauner, Popular Science, (244:3) p. 43, March 1994.
  • “The New Dome Homes,” D. Best, Practical Homeowner, (2:3) pp. 70-71, March 1987.
  • “The Return of the Geodesic Dome,” G. Knauer, Futurist, (26:29) p. 4, January/February 1992.
  • “Solar Living Looks at Geodesic Dome Solar Homes,” Solar Living, (4:3) p. 22, May/June 1981.
  • “Umbrella Homes,” J. Hait, Popular Science, (229:2) pp. 64-66, August 1986.

…plus more listings of resources.