Geodesic Domes

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .
Spaceship Earth
The Spaceship Earth (Disney), Orlando, Florida, USA. Opened on 1982. The sphere has a diameter of 50 meters. Google Map
montreal biosphere 20eee s
Montreal Biosphere, in Montreal, Canada. Built in 1967. This sphere is 76 meters in diameter and 62 meters high. 2880×2160 image source Google Map

Note that the common name “geodesic dome” is a misnomer. The defining qualities of these domes is the fact that they are regular, based on Regular polyhedron, in particular, Icosahedron. A geodesic is the shortest path between any two points on a surface. On a sphere, the geodesic is then arcs of great circles. It's misleading to call these domes “geodesic”, because the concept of “geodesic” really has nothing to do with it. You can have a spherical structure where the frames are all geodesics but irregularly placed. A more proper term would be Regular Polyhedron dome, or simply geo dome.

Also, the guy R Buckminster Fuller, a name associated with geo dome, is a kook. He didn't invent geo dome but invented the term “geodesic dome”, and many other pseudo-science such as “Spaceship Earth”, “ephemeralization”, “synergetic”, “tensegrity sphere”.

Climatron Missouri Botanical Gardens
Climatron dome, at Missouri Botanical Gardens , Saint Louis, Missouri, USA. 1859. 53 m in diameter. Google Map
Superior Dome Marquette 2009 91b3b s
Superior Dome, 1991. A wooden dome. At Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan, USA. 3500×3000 image source Google Map
Alvernia Studios aa9a0
Alvernia Studios, Poland. Google Map image source
RMF Radio Dome
Alvernia Studios, Poland. Google Map
Emmett High School dome
Two 55 diameter monolithic domes. Built in ~1988, at Emmett High School. (Idaho, USA) Google Map


Thanks to Stéphane Tsacas for identifying a location.