Dome
Geodesic Dome
Geodesic Dome Notes & Calculator
Geodesic Dome Diary
Geodesic Polyhedra
Polyhedra Notes
Bow Dome
Triangulated Bow Dome
Star Dome
Star Dome Diary
Wigwam
Zome
Helix Zome
Low Cost Dome (PVC)
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Dome

Updates

Fri, December 18, 2009: Included the polyhedral and curved helix zome, not yet in the typology included.

Wed, July 25, 2007: First version, included dome typology with a brief overview of dome variants.

The dome or hemispherical dwelling is an ancient shelter form alike the tipi, and there are many ways to build a dome, with bent bows or straight struts.


The dome can be implemented in many ways, e.g. a geodesic dome composed by triangles is challenging to calculate and build, especially if not a canvas is used to cover it.

A dome done with bows is much easier to plan and implement, and very simple to errect and take down as well, and the portability is very good in that case. The comfort, if done with thermal insulation like with the yurt, is alike excellent.

Yet, there is one noteable disadvantage to be mentioned, the entire surface acts as roof and requires to be 100% waterproof therefore, whereas the yurt or cubic building have a comperable lesser vertical exposure or roof area.

Dome Typology

This dome typology gives you an overview of the different approach to compose a dome or hemispherical shelter:


Geodesic Dome


Geodesic Dome
Simplicity
Size Flexibility
Portability
Comfort
Overall (2.75)
The geodesic dome is composed by straight structural elements, so called struts which themselves connect to hubs. It's a rather complex approach, and one of it significance and advantage is it can be fine grained as required, at any size - that why "Size Flexibility" has the highest rating.

Bow Dome


Bow Dome
Simplicity
Size Flexibility
Portability
Comfort
Overall (3.0)
The bow dome is composed by bows, either under tension or prevent to stay in shape, and tied to a central hub. Different ways of bending provides different shapes of the dome, like peak-tie or cross-tie bows.

Zome


Zome
Simplicity
Size Flexibility
Portability
Comfort
Overall (3.0)
The zome is either composed by straight struts or in its curved version with bent bows. For a real life applications the zomes require further triangulation in order to be stable.
  • Zome, introduction, overview and photos
  • Helix Zome, curved variant of the polyhedral approach

Star Dome


Star Dome
Simplicity
Size Flexibility
Portability
Comfort
Overall (2.75)
The star dome is derived from a geodesic dome using bamboo splits as bows. It's a rather simple setup, but due its defined form does not allow larger domes, that's why "Size Flexibility" rating is low.

Wigwam


Wigwam
Simplicity
Size Flexibility
Portability
Comfort
Overall (3.0)
The wigwam stands here rather for the way the skeleton is made, with a canvas setup. The original wigwam is made with tree branches, and covered with leaves or grass.

Variant Considerations

Each of the approaches has advantages and disadvantages, e.g. the Geodesic Dome can be built almost at any size and fine grided as necessary with higher triangular subdivision and overhead to erect the dome raises significant, whereas the Star Dome is only suitable to 7-8m in diameter, after that the gaps become to huge and require additional structure. The Bow Dome provides many forms with its central hub approach as you can explore the Bow Dome Calculator, and also can be fine grided for larger domes. The Zome on the other hand has many features the Geodesic Dome has but isn't natively triangulated.


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