- Some dome types are more appealing from a construction viewpoint:
number of various elements makes planning, shop work and assembly less
difficult. There can also be a more efficient use of raw materials. A
more efficient dome costs less. Some domes make better 1/2, 3/8 or 5/8
fullness. Other dome types are appealing for their unique symmetry and
Dome Homes and Dome Types
There are several ways to make dome homes. Our domes can be
into homes starting with the hub-strut geodesic framework which
a strong spherical triangle grid. The domes can be wood or metal-
and steel. Connector Hubs should be aluminum or steel. Ideally for a
home you would use a metal hub and wood strut system. 2 x 6 framing
will work very well.
Monolithic domes are ferro-cement type with a steel mesh and
stucco/concrete cover to finish the roof. Our domes will work with this
method as well as other roofing types.
One company uses an air bubble form to apply spray foam and spray
concrete reinforced with REBAR.
Another uses prefab lightweight cement
triangles to make a sort of geodesic igloo. Others make "panelized
from hex and pent triangle sections built in the shop. These are
to a building site and assembled. The roof panels are already
There is more flexibility of design and customization with hub-strut
A wood dome frame may be
as a support structure for creating a rebar frame work to which roofing
may be applied, whether stucco, spray on concrete or other type. The
dome can then be dismantled and reused many times. The frame can be
with roof decking, plywood or OSB, and finished with a variety of
They may be small, simple
domes, or architecturally developed and refined for many residential
Endless dome types and
can be created, including icosahedral, octahedral, elliptical domes and
Domes we make
are made by using longer hubs and attaching 2 struts spaced apart
of just one. In this way an insulating space is created between the
dome and the inner dome. The inner dome could be spaced from 9 inches
2 feet from the outer dome. An outer dome of 2 x 6s for example and
dome of 2 x 4s could be used. There is plenty of room for wiring,
insulation, plumbing etc. between the inner and outer domes.
2. Subdivided domes
are triangular divisions of the original dome design. Designated with
numbers according to the first, second and third division. The method
unique to domes built by us manufactured under authority of U.S.
It is an innovative system that adds geodesically triangulated
structure to existing domes. The "Multi-Max" [MMX] hub system is used
attaching up to 12 struts arrayed strategically around a cylinder hub.
Special features are that no compound [miter + bevel] cuts are required
for the struts, and original triangle face planes of the dome are
so that there is no change in the amount of roofing material needed.
there is double or triple the amount of substructure under the roof
a stronger dome; with more framework for attaching the roof deck. The
dome may be 2 x 6 framing for example, and the "X" struts 2 x 4. Double
domes may have one or both "X" types. The types may be different, or
variations of "X" type on a single dome.
Truss domes can be made similar to the double domes, but the
and outer dome would be different. The inner dome ideally would be of
elements and larger triangles. These domes would have an insulating
between the inner and outer dome, with common vertices [hubs] at
locations. Either or both could be "X" types. Either also could be made
of different strut sizes or strut material. The main advantage of this
dome type is the simple way of adding pyramid-triangle space-frame
strengthening to the dome. Also the interior dome would require much
material to cover than the outer dome, while creating an insulating
between the outside and inside.
4. Octet-Truss Space frames made spherical- Combines the concepts of
the "X3" subdivision, double domes, and Diamond Truss domes. Fully
truss domes in a omni-arrayed 3D pyramidal grid can be constructed.
hubs and typical strut material can be used throughout. These domes are
ideal for covering large areas where a single dome would fail, or
domes requiring extra strength while using less expensive,
materials used in construction.
Domes are described as oriented edge zenith, face zenith or vertex
In other words, you can have many orientaions of either face
strut or hub at the dome apex. Most often the hub at the top works best
and gives a level or near level row of struts at the base of the dome.
6. Dome Classes. Describes orientation in relation to the underlying
polyhedra, Class I, II, and III. At present we only use Class I and II
Icosa and Octa based domes as well as Polyhedra Domes which are
divided and made geodesic, with pentagrams in the case of the Star
See Introduction to
Construction for a permanent structure begins with
Consult with architects, engineers, local officials who govern areas
residential or commercial construction. An engineer can determine if a
certain structure is workable for a particular purpose in a certain
to fit the climate, soil conditions etc. Architects and
designers create building plans with actual construction details that
and contractors use for making the structure.
We can supply details of constructing the dome frame that
engineers and architects can use for their work. Computer data and
supplied on diskette can be licensed to an individual for specific
to protect our proprietary information.
You may hire a local firm to build your dome home or other
dome structure. You may also do most of it yourself if you have the
or have the time and willingness to learn. Professionals such as
electricians, roofers, cabinet makers, etc. may be hired. An unskilled
person who is up for the challenge can build the dome frame, add the
panels, windows, doors, flooring, insulation, vapor barrier, wall
drywall or paneling, paint, landscaping, etc. Our domes are ideal for
who can work outside of areas governed by strict zoning, residential
building requirements. Long established builders such as Timberline,
Dome, Natural Spaces, Geodesic Domes and Homes, American Ingenuity,
Domes etc. are good sources of information, home plans and quality
Also check out the Dome Home discussion group at YAHOO GROUPS
The domes cost ultimately depends on hundreds of construction
specifications. However domes may cost much less or much more per
foot than the average house. In other words there is the budget dome
the deluxe custom dome, and those in between. You would likely build
to your financial ability and how much you do yourself to save
It is possible to use our
domes and working from premade stock building plans, construct your
home, modified to your requirements. Write for copies of floor plans
dome size you are planning.
We are also available to travel to your building site to oversee
the work acting as licensed builder or contractor, interfacing with
architect, etc. and scheduling work such as foundation, plumbing etc.
involvement may be as little or as much as they desire. We can be there
for the entire construction period or minimal time to get the work
and progressing as scheduled.
|Janet Snow writing on the DomeHome discussion list (join at
compares dome types (thanks Janet):
There are advantages and disadvantages to the different
types of systems
and different manufacturers. Just a few to think about:
Hub and Strut advantages/considerations: 1.
There is more
of an option for you to work with a company (for expertise and
and yet build your own kit. I don't believe any of the panel
manufacturers will give you the instructions (measurements, etc.) to
your own panelized dome but that doesn't mean you can't do it on your
2. The individual pieces are lighter and easier to work with
the need for cranes or other specialized equipment. 3. There are
options for a super-insulated structure. (This should also be
with panelized systems but I haven't seen any marketed that way.) 4.
in framing materials -- no doubling up on struts.
Panelized system advantages/considerations: 1.
is done on the ground. 2. Have possibility to also do
on the ground before assembly. 3. Dome erection can probably be
faster especially if using a crane or other equipment (this may be a
4. If you're not a do-it-yourselfer, more of the work is completed by
Concrete dome advantages/considerations:
options for free-form type structure. 2. Can offer
structures. 3. There are options for a panelized concrete dome
as well as "sprayed" concrete domes offering some of the advantages of
a panelized system in a concrete dome.
4. Roofing is less of an issue since the roofing material is integral
to the dome. 5. Some feel that they are stronger but I'm
sure this is proven. (Having lived in earthquake country, what I've
is that masonry - concrete structures tend to be more rigid and thus
susceptible to that type of damage than wood frame structures.)
Other considerations (some of these should be available no
type of dome you choose but they may influence your
What is the look that you like? What fits for your building
site? Do you have concerns about insulation
Do you have concerns about ventilation under the roof? What
type of interior finish appeals to you? What kind of
do you want for lighting and ventilation (windows)?
Comment on panel dome construction:
Here is a page illustrating prefab dome panels. Panel
Construction Also see Oregon Domes and others linked above.
A pre-made panel dome might be considered advantageous in some
- Eliminates connector hubs- Connector Kit cannot be used
- Panels will need to be delivered by motor freight or on a
if a very large dome = larger package.
- More preparation time sawing, measuring and constructing
at the building site.
- Roof decking, insulation and interior panels can be pre
- You will have many bevels and miters on the lumber (compound
hand and right hand opposite), more difficult than simple miter angles
on our hub-strut domes. (Some hub systems do not even require a miter)
- Large panels require 2-3 men to attach or use of a crane.
As stated on the Thorton
site describing a Timberline dome, a hub-strut system may be better
for DIY dome home owner-builders. The Garden Dome system is the best
lowest cost smaller dome shelters, greenhouses etc. or larger domes for
homes using the metal Connector Hubs.
Domes are used and enjoyed for many
Above all they are strong structures that use material to enclose a
of space more economically compared to traditional 'square'
However the special appeal of domes is that a financially friendly,
friendly, user friendly building can be used to work and live in. The
openness of spacious living areas that create a comfortable dwelling
are what domes are all about. Most efficient use of natural resources
less expense used for heating and cooling the dome environment are
benefits that only dome dwellers enjoy.
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