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Congruent Triangles

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Domes and Homes
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Credit: Paul Lowry
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_lowry/3162150614/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Have you ever looked closely at a dome? Some domes are made of thousands of congruent triangles. These geodesic domes are efficient buildings, and the self-supporting nature of the triangles helps to make the domes very stable structures. The smaller the triangles in the dome, the closer the dome’s shape is to a true sphere.

A Fuller Perspective on the Geodesic Dome

In 1954, Buckminster Fuller patented his design for a geodesic dome home. The American engineer was convinced that domes were the homes of the future. They can be constructed from very few building materials, but they are also capable of withstanding extreme pressures and environments. The American base at the South Pole is a geodesic dome. So, why are dome homes so unusual?

Credit: Andrea Allen
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sloth_rider/1592097143/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

It turns out that while efficiency and durability may be important for research stations and amusement parks, people want more from their homes. Living in a geodesic dome can be difficult. The rounded sides mean that you can’t put your furniture against the wall. There’s nowhere to hang a television. Appliances like washers, dryers, heaters, and air conditioners are all designed for normal rectangular houses. The 1950s “house of the future” wasn’t suited for our future.

Today, dome homes are very rare. However, with some creativity, a few people have found ways to make them cozy and attractive.

See for yourself: http://money.cnn.com/video/pf/2013/04/04/pf-uh-geodesic-dome-home.cnnmoney/index.html 

Explore More

Try to build your own geodesic dome with the following resources.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN3FMx1TYt8

http://www.pbs.org/saf/1304/teaching/teaching2.htm

http://www.thirteen.org/bucky/dome.html

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Paul Lowry; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_lowry/3162150614/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Andrea Allen; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sloth_rider/1592097143/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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