Archive for the ‘synergetics’ Category

Dwelling Machine Prototypes

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Old Man River City Prototype (stadium shaped)

build.gif - 25.8 K

Brainstorming on Buckyworks: The Anthology

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 The Esthetics of Architecture
  • Chapter 2 Designing from the Inside Out
  • Chapter 3 A Dome in the Desert (a report from the field)
  • Chapter 4 Towards the Solar-Hydrogen Village
  • Chapter 5 Home Schooling in the Global Classroom
  • Chapter 6 Of Comfort Zones and Fuzzy Logic
  • Chapter 7 Untitled
  • Chapter 8 The User Interface [draft copy available for peer review]
  • Chapter 9 Globally Positioning your Home Sweet Home
  • Appendix (downloadable resources, web links and contacts)

This was a book proposal I put out after J. Baldwin’s BuckyWorks was successfully published by John Wiley & Sons. Applewhite was skeptical that it’d fly as an anthology. He was right.

Garden of Eden Prototypes


In BuckyWorks (© 1996 John Wiley & Sons), author J. Baldwin recounts his work with the Pillowdome (pg. 168-ff). His leak-proof prototype uses a frame made from recycled aluminium water pipe (from the Starnet International Corporation) and argon gas filled pillows made of Dupont’s fluoropolymer resin, Tefzel® (chemically similar to Teflon®).

Since Tefzel® allows full-spectrum sunlight to penetrate the dome’s interior, living and gardening areas may be creatively integrated.

Excessive humidity and overheating within these “Garden of Eden” prototypes remains a challenge however — Jay points to the Climatron in the Missouri Botanical Garden as a good approximation of what he’d like to achieve as an affordable living space option — but affordability would entail greater energy efficiency. He speculates that the “chilling machine” effect, a result of airflow patterns arising in some dome designs, might help keep the interior comfortable (e.g. see Fig 8-8, page 160).

For more info on the PillowDome, see:

Online reviews of J. Baldwin’s BuckyWorks:

Since Tefzel® allows full-spectrum sunlight to penetrate the dome’s interior, living and gardening areas may be creatively integrated.

Excessive humidity and overheating within these “Garden of Eden” prototypes remains a challenge however — Jay points to the Climatron in the Missouri Botanical Garden as a good approximation of what he’d like to achieve as an affordable living space option — but affordability would entail greater energy efficiency. He speculates that the “chilling machine” effect, a result of airflow patterns arising in some dome designs, might help keep the interior comfortable (e.g. see Fig 8-8, page 160).

For more info on the PillowDome, see:

Online reviews of J. Baldwin’s BuckyWorks:


Monday, February 1st, 2010

See below for information about how to get a listing.

Special note to vendors: Yes I still actively maintain this page. However, due to the volume of incoming, I sometimes space out or even lose a change, add or delete request. This happened recently, which is irksome, as the request also contained a lot of praise and gratitude for my having helped drive business to their website over the years. So then I go and lose the email. Moral: don’t be hesitant to send an email a second or third time, if you make a request and this page hasn’t changed in a day or two and you haven’t heard back (I should be able to do at least one or the other).

Check out my main page on geodesic domes for more links. Some additional resources are listed at the bottom of this page.

Manufacturer Contact Info Notes Verified
Albata Geodesics
900 C.R. 795
Montevallo, Al. 35115
Al and Patricia Burson
Tel: (205) 665-7505
custom built kits, design work and floor plans all kits come color coded and easy to assemble Spring 2000
Aluminum Geodesic Spheres (AGS)
4019 West Park Road
Hollywood, FL 33021
Edwin O’Toole
Tel: 305-625-9436
none Summer 1994
Aluminium Rheinfelden GmbH – VACONO
Friedrichstr. 80
D-79618 Rheinfelden
Dr. M. Miermeister
Tel. : (+49)(0)7623 / 93511
Fax : (+49)(0)7623 / 93547
E-mail :
all aluminium geodesic dome roof VACONODOME® Spring 1997
American Ingenuity
8777 Holiday Springs Road
Rockledge, FL 32955-5805
Tel: 407-639-8777
Fax: 407-639-8778
Planning Kit $10; Video $8; EPS Foam covered w/concrete Shells May 1995
Conservatek Industries, Inc.
498 Loop 336 East
Conroe, TX 77301
Tel: 409-539-1747
Fax: 409-539-5355
Toll free: 800-880-DOME
Manufactures of aluminum domes and aluminum covers April, 1997
CSC Domes
Rt 1, Box 233
St. Peter, MN 56082
Tel: 1-800-445-7547
Low-cost, temporary, inflatable geodesic, plastic covered domes. Semi-permament, steel pipe frame, aluminum or wood geodesic domes with covers. Easy assembly. ?
Dome Incorporated
2550 University Ave. W.,
Suite 455
St. Paul, MN 55114
Blair F. Wolfram
Tel: 612-333-3663
Steel frame geodesic domes, glass triangle windows, 2′ diameter to 74′ diameter. Any frequency. Steel, wood or polymers. High performance housing. December, 2001
Domes America
6345 West Jolie Road
Countryside, IL 60525
Tel: 708-579-9400 none ?
Domes International, Inc.
P.O. Box 137
Golden, MS 38847
Theresa & Hugh Mayhew
Voice: 1-888-454-7390
Fax: 1-662-454-3098
Energy-efficient, low-maintenance, fiber-glass dome homes April, 2000
Domes Northwest
319 N. Marguerite Road
Spokane Valley, WA 99212
Theresa & Hugh Mayhew
Voice: (208) 691-9996
Wood dome kits for residential or commercial structures. Dome building school offered. Assistance in design through construction available. June, 2004
Domespace Voice: 212-906-0175
Fax: 212-906-0176
Plans, construction (non-geodesic) April, 1997
DomEstic Designs
P.O. Box 4203
Bellevue, WA 98009
none none ?
Energy Structures, Inc.
893 Wilson Avenue
St.Paul, MN 55106
Kevin Frawley
Tel: 800-334-8144
Fax: 612-772-1207
Super-insulated dome homes, cabins, commercial structures. Free catalog. Fall 1998
Geo Tech Systems
1725 Kingwood St. #5
Florence, Oregon 97439
Tel: 541-997-5786
Fax: 541-997-5786
John Hackett
tensioned fabric domes, aluminum, fiberglass, and PVC frames, 12′ to 100′ February, 2001
Geodesic Domes, Inc. (GDI)
10290 Davison Road
Davison, MI 48423
Carlos McCarter
Tel: 313-653-2383
Brochure $8; Wood kits Oct 1990
Geodesic Domes & Homes
P.O. Box 575
Whitehouse, Texas 57591
Larry and Srandra Knackstedt
Info packet $10 November, 1997
GeoDomes Woodworks
6876 Indiana Avenue, Suite L
Riverside, CA 92514
Bob Davies & Glenn Van Doren
Tel: 909-787-8800
Fax: 909-787-7089
Home Planning Guide $15; Wood kits starting at $10,000 Summer 1994
Geometrica, Inc.
908 Town & Country Blvd. Ste. 330
Houston, TX 77024
Mr. Luis Enrico
Tel: (713)722-7555
Fax: (713)722-0331
large commercial and industrial geodesic domes and Freedomes® August, 1997
Good Karma Domes
3531 S.W. 42nd Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73119
James Lynch
Tel: (405) 685-4822
Plans and kits (hubless bolt-together design), heat-efficient insulated domes. June, 1999
P.O. Box 2351
La Mesa, CA 91943
Eugene E. Hopster
Free Video; Wood kits April, 1997
Inflatable Domes LLC
9864 E.Grand River,
Michigan, 48114, U.S.A.
Voice: [1]-888-410-1686
Backup: [1]-888-862-6528
Jesse Johnson
Light weight inflatable dome made of portable panels, connected with velcro-type material to cover sports fields and construction sites February, 2001
Island Domes
Libra Farms
Metal tube frame, PVC laminate skin, hydroponics July, 1999
Keystone Domes
313 Patterson Lane
Belle Vernon, PA  15012
(412) 579-6127
Fax (724) 929-3696
designs/builds large dome-shaped structures for storage of bulk materials, also culverts and tunnels. Short construction times, lower overall cost. November, 1999
P.O. Box 980427
Houston, TX 77098
Einar Thorsteinn EDC Booklet $20 (European design, 163 solutions, kits, math) Winter 1995
Kwickset Konstruction Kits
Klaus Zimmer Dome home plans, build-it-yourself kits Spring 1999
LEK Shelters
3760 Hancock st suite D
San Diego CA 92110
Tel: 1-619-995-3284
Modular shelter designs, kits, panels Nov 2005
Littlewood Geodesic Domes
7208 80 Ave
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T6B 0C6
Tel: (403) 463-3004 or 970-3802
Wood frame, low cost relocatable shelters, frame kit with durable covering Dec 1997
Lobel Frame
31 rue Varengue
92340 Bourg La Reine
Tel: +33(0)146645325
Fax: +33(0)146641591
Alain Lobel
Architect: Space Structures
Forms and structures generated by identical elements
Nov 2000
Lydick’s Domes Unlimited
173 Harvey Rd.
Sarver PA 16055
Tel: 412 353 0098
Fax: 412 353 0098
Supplying wood frame, panelized domes up to 134′ in dia. Free supervision on installation of up to 60′ domes. Color catalogs, videos, construction manuals, and in house drafting and design services Jan 1996
Guy Massicotte geodesic dome designs Feb 1997
Monolithic Constructors, Inc.
P.O. Box 479-W
One Dome Park Place
Italy, TX 76651
Voice: 972 483-7423
Fax: 972 483-6662
$19.95 Video; Free brochure; Concrete Domes April, 1997
Nation’s Hoop Carpenters
P.O. Box 45
Boyertown, PA 19512
Steven J. Kennedy Metal, wood & cement domes Summer 1994
Natural Space Domes
37955 Bridge Road
North Branch, MN 55056
Dennis & Janet Johnson
Tel: 612-674-4292
Toll free: 800-733-7107
Fax: 612-674-5005
Super-insulated wood frame domes; Catalog & price list – special $3; 49 min &quotTour of Domes” video – $20; 94 page plan book – $11; dome constuction schools. April, 1997
North Face, The
999 Harrison Court
Berkeley, CA 94710
Hal Klopp & Bruce Hamilton
Tel: 415-527-9700
Geodesic Tents ?
Observa-DOME Laboratories, Inc.
371 Commerce Park Drive
Jackson, MS 39213
Tel: 601-982-3333
Observatory domes, missile silo covers. Note: these are not geodesic designs April, 1997
Oregon Dome, Inc.
3215 Meadow Lane
Eugene, OR 97402
Linda Boothe or Nathan Burke
(800) 572-8943
Fax: 541) 689-9275
free info, guide to construction management for $42.95 April, 1997
Pacific Domes
247 Granite St.
Ashland, OR 97520
Tel: 888-488-8127
Geo domes made from canvas and galvanized steel tubing, 12-44 feet in diameter, catalog November, 1999
Pond-Brook Products
P.O. Box 301
Franklin Lakes, NJ 07412
Gladys Payne Hexa-Pent Dome Plans $20 ?
Precision Structures LLC
2565 Potter Street
Eugene, OR 97405 Professional Dome Plans: Simple, detailed shop drawings and
formulas for building 3v icosa domes.
Summer 2002
1505 Webster Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Tel: 804-643-3184 none ?
Shelter Systems
224 West O’Connor
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Bob Gillis
Tel: Voice: 415-323-6202
Fax: 415-323-1220
Send $1 for info; Large dome tents, greenhouses, etc. Janurary 1996
Spitz Inc.
P.O. Box 198, Route 1
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
Tel: (610) 459-5200
Fax: (610) 459-3830
manufacturer of domed screens for planetariums and omni theaters April, 1997
Starnet International
200 Hope Street
Longwood, Florida 32750 USA
(407) 830-1199
Fax: (407) 830-1817
designers, engineers, fabricators & assemblers of spaceframes, arches & dome enclosures with integrated metal decking, membrane, glass & acrylic cladding options August 1996
Stromberg’s Chicks & Gamebirds
P.O. Box 400
Pine River, 4, MN 56474
Tel: 218-587-2222 $39.95 for Starplate struts to build a dome shed/greenhouse up to 14′ diam ?
Storex Systems Inc.
6772 Martin Street
PO Box 41
Pine River
Rome, NY 13440
Tel: 315-339-5151
Wood frame domes from 30′ in diameter to 150′ in diameter April, 1996
Synergetics, Inc.
122 Cox Ave.
Raleigh, NC 97206
Tel: 919-832-4011
Fax: 919-832-4011
in business since 1954, many large projects to its name July, 1999
PO Box 6256
24724 South Wilmington Ave
Carson, CA 90749
Clark Margolf
Tel: (310) 549-4311
or: (800) 421-2263
Fax: (310) 549-4588
Large aluminum commercial domes February, 2001
The Dome Company
47 Edward St.
Sylvania Heights
Sydney, NSW 2224
Rob Lusher
Tel/Fax: (02) 95226283
smaller type domes, particularly kit-set frames for shadehouses etc. May, 1998
Timberline Geodesics
2015 Blake Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
Robert M. Singer
Tel: 800-DOME-HOME
Fax: 510-849-3265
Catalog $12; Video $15; Wood kits Spring 1996
Tobel Domes
P.O. Box 310
Lakeside, CA 92040
Tom Boyle
Tel: 619-443-6503
Fax: 619-443-1108
Geodesic Dome kits to 130′ Dia
construction, roofing services
Plan/photo catalog $14
Winter, 1995
Topsider Homes
P.O. BOX 1490
Clemmons NC 27012
Tel: 910-766-9300 Round homes, not domes ?
Ulraflote Corporation
8558 Katy Frwy
Suite 100
Houston, Texas 77024
Tel: 713-461-2100
Fax: 713-461-2100
floating tank covers and aluminum geodesic Ultradome, for the petroleum industry and other sectors May, 1998
Western Wood Structures, Inc.
PO Box 130
Tualatin, Oregon, 97062
Tel: 503 692-6900
or 800 547-5411(USA)
Fax: 503 692-6434
Timber domes, some of the largest in the world November, 1996
WorldFlower Garden Domes
P.O. Box 3123
Fort Worth, Texas 76113
Tel: 888-945-3311
Fax: 817 921-6795
Ernie Aiken
Dome kits for gardens, related functions October, 1997

For further information see:

Publication Contact Info Notes Verified
Thomas Register of American Manufacturers
One Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212-695-0500 See Volumes 1-10: Products & Services (in most libraries) 1994
National Association of Dome Manufacturers
2506 Gross Point Road
Evanston, IL 60201
none none Summer 1994
National Dome Council
15th & “M” Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: 202-822-0576 none ?
DOME (magazine)
4401 Zepher Street
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Donald R. Hoflin
Tel: 303-934-5656
Quarterly; $40/yr Summer 1994
Email list devoted to geodesic dome homes: DomeHome-H. The list is owned by Hoflin Publishing, publishers of DOME magazine. To subscribe, send an email with the SUBJECT subscribe to

This list was initially based on a list provided by Joe Moore, the independent Bucky Fuller scholar. These days, I like to hear directly from officially authorized company representatives (e.g. owners, marketing) to request a listing, change of info, or deletion. I don’t have time to scour the web, publications, and so on, nor do I necessarily list companies that people post about, but don’t work for directly (the companies in question might not want a listing at my site, for whatever reason, or might want one with different information than what some third party provides).

Having a listing on this page does not constitute an endorsement by 4D Solutions (I have no intention of evaluating or rating all of these products and services). I may have had business relationships with some of these firms (e.g. been a customer, consultant, financeer or co-designer) or perhaps will in the future — but that’s irrelevant insofar as just getting a listing is concerned. I don’t need to know you or have had any dealings with your company to give you a listing. Just send me (Kirby) some email.

I am not experienced in home building myself (a little touching-up with caulk and spackle is about my speed) and currently live in a 1905 box home, not a dome. You can ask me questions about domes, but likely I’ll just refer you back to this page, which will connect you to people a lot more knowledgable and experienced than I in the domes department.

For an even more complete listing of dome suppliers, check Michael Rader’s listing and useful web site on domes.


Monday, February 1st, 2010



Geodesic domes are fractional parts of complete geodesic spheres. Actual structures range from less than 5% to 100% (a full sphere). The Spaceship Earth Pavilion constructed by Tishman Construction for AT&T at Disney’s Epcot is the best-known example of a full sphere.


Picture of Applet

Geodesic spheres and domes come in various frequencies. The frequency of a dome relates to the number of smaller triangles into which it is subdivided. A high frequency dome has more triangular components and is more smoothly curved and sphere-like. If your web browser is Java-enabled, you can interact with the exhibit on Frequency above.






Fuller realized that spheres packed around a nuclear sphere in successive layers give a cuboctahedral shape, which may be distorted into an icosahedron or octahedron via what he called the jitterbug transformation.


animated GIF by Richard HawkinsThe network of rods between adjacent spheres in a hollow icosahedral packing gives the framework for the classic geodesic sphere. Geodesic domes may also be based on other polyhedra, such as the octahedron and tetrahedron.



Class I

The classic geodesic sphere is composed of 20 curved triangles, each of which corresponds to one facet of the icosahedron, a 20-faceted polyhedron. Each of the 20 triangles is curved because it is subdivided into smaller triangles, the corners of which are all pushed out to a constant distance from the sphere’s center. The pattern used for this subdividing into smaller triangles is used to classify domes into classes I, II and III.


For further reading

  • Brainstorming on BuckyWorks
  • Re EPCOT etc. [1][2][3]
  • The Project Renaissance model for prototyping in the public sector

    Monday, February 1st, 2010



    50 foot dome by Cascade Domes and Shelters

    The first contemporary geodesic dome on record is Walter Bauersfeld’s, who realized the utility of projecting the constellations on the inner surface of an icosasphere, Omnimax-style, thereby creating a breakthrough planetarium in Jena, Germany, in 1922.

    Fuller derived his geodesic dome from general principles independently of Bauresfeld, just as he derived the octet truss without knowing of Alexander Graham Bell’s implementation of this same naturally occuring phenomenon.

    Fuller’s geodesic spheres and domes emerged synergetically from his philosophical “explorations in the geometry of thinking“. In this self-discipline, the variably frequenced icosasphere links up with the jitterbug and sphere packing concepts (see dome geometry).


    The spherical high frequency icosahedron also suggests a grid of triangles which may be used to transfer global data from a sphere to an unfoldable icosahedron (another concept that would have excited Bauersfeld). The geodesic dome and the Fuller Projection both derive from the same general principles.For further reading



    Fuller aniticipated that domes, along with other alternative dwelling designs, would likely become artifacts within a new World Livingry Service Industry. Economies of scale would give people affordable housing options, along with ways to seamlessly connect with multimedia-based work-study telecommunication systems. The new dwelling machines would deploy alongside more traditional neighborhood structures and different cultures would customize them to integrate with local designs and routines.

    Some models would feature a very high degree of energy autonomy, and their deployment in remote areas would be without lasting disruption of the ecosystem — a supporting tripod would make it unecessary to pour concrete, and helicopter delivery and pickup would keep construction crews and equipment from despoiling the landscape.

    Here’s a video of me (Kirby) talking about more recent history. The clip is from 2003 (which is also when I did the editing), whereas I made it available as a Google live video in 2005 (November).

    For further reading

    Fuller Projection

    Monday, February 1st, 2010

    Fold-up map (animated GIF)

    The Fuller Projection, or Dymaxion Map, solves the age-old problem of displaying spherical data on a flat surface using a low-distortion transformation. The map also shows the world’s land masses without interruption — the map’s sinuses do not cut into the land area at any point.

    Fuller projection

    The Fuller Projection is rendered by juxtaposing a grid of triangles on the globe and transferring the data to corresponding triangles on an unfolded icosahedron.


    See Chris Rywalt’s site for download options

    Although the algorithm for transferring data from a sphere to a plane differs from previous icosahedral projections (the Gnomonic and John P. Synder’s for example), Robert W. Gray has shown that the orientation of the icosahedron is the most visually distinctive aspect of the map.

    To the naked eye, the Fuller, gnomonic and Snyder projections are quasi-identical, once all are made to conform to the same trademarked layout.

    Fuller hoped that this map would be widely used for sharing global data, but discouraged people from marring it with national political boundaries. Fuller regarded sovereignties as holdovers from a bygone era, and dangerous obstructions to the maturation of a post-racist, post-nationalist civilization (see No Race, No Class, Desovereignization?).

    Perhaps owing to his anti-nationalism, Fuller’s projection has never been favored by the United Nations, which instead promotes the Peters Projection as an alternative to the Mercator. The Mercator artificially amplifies the sizes of landmasses in a way which makes the industrialized, developed nations appear to account for a greater percentage of the total geographical area than they really do.

    Fuller’s map actually introduces less overall distortion than the Peters Projection.

    Peters Projection (less accurate)