Dome Architecture - Gaudian Type of Dome Structure

The idea I want to transmit is pretty simple - that’s what is beautiful about it. Cheap, modular house for everyone:

The Goal:

Create blueprints for affordable, efficient, customizable, modular, beautiful, self-sufficient, futureproof house that originates from my life and current zeitgeist.

Why a software guy like me is doing it? In software the elegance and beauty found in code comes from the amount of space it takes to encapsulate a complex algorithm. The simpler it is the better. A set of viable instructions, proofed seeds that could grow into a dwelling, available on the public domain for anybody - this is what we as a specie that has aspirations for interplanetary travels should provide to anybody.

Why Do We Need Cheaper Houses?

What is the core reason of people´s actions? Mises’ take on it was:

Human action is necessarily always rational.

Maslow’s take on human action was:

The fact is that people are good, Give people affection and security, and they will give affection and be secure in their feelings and their behavior.

Combine this quotes and you get the way I think about people. Good, security-driven, rational beings. That is of course the ideal. The problem is that the shape and condition of current societies and globalist world is not helping people achieving this state. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on the bottom of the pyramid we have rest, warmth, then the second level is private property and security. Those two give se

On other, higher levels we have love, esteem, friends, goals, creativty etc. This gives us pretty clear picture of what is going wrong. How people can reach for all those amazing qualities and feelings if they struggle to find security and house? How is it possible that in the most automated and advanced civilization that ever existed we take months to get a permit for construction? We take a lifetime to save-up for a house?

We increase automation, decrease the needed work but the amount of capital accumulated in a society does not increase. The reasons are obvious but I am not in any power to fight with fiat currency in the whole world. I like to think about problems from my perspective so that I will be able to solve them at least within my closest proximity.

People struggle with having a house, they put majority of their lives into acquiring the very basic human needs. When I compare it with 5th of population involved with useless jobs (according to Graeber) - this is becoming ridiculous. We forgot, drifted away from sustainable way of living. As a society, we are just lagging behind on all levels because of lack of available housing solutions.Basic needs have to be fulfilled before rising to higher - intellectual, spiritual, cultural - needs.

We all need a house - you say - I get it. Hasn’t anybody tried it yet?

How Buckminster Fuller Geodesic Dymaxion Dome Did Not Solve This?

Buckminster Fuller introduced the idea of domes - fullerene Geodesic houses as a solution for humanity problems. It has enormous advantages, just to name a few most important once:

  • Strength - resistent to extreme winds, earthquaqes.
  • Cost - very cheap to build.
  • Energy efficient - the most efficient shape when it comes to heat convection.
  • Temperature maintainability.

There are downsides of this solution when it comes to urban areas. The usage of the sphere makes it difficult to build block of flats, the sphere’s inside is difficult to fill. There is a company in Denmark that constructs fully functional 80m^2 domes for as little as 10 000 euro. This is a good price that does not require decades of putting oneself in debt. In the very Spain, that has abundance of wood and space, the costs rise 3folds for such a house due to being made for custom-only projects.

Fulleren balls is a great concept from physical and chemical point of view, but there are downsides when used for dwellings. They may be problematic when it comes to interior design - each house is based on fullerene concept where skeleton is constituted by nodes tightly connected with each other. This causes circular shape and that makes it difficult to allocate space in ‘the corners’. The main problem of this shape is that it’s difficult to allocate space above the ground floor. There is more that caused the dome to become just a futuristic curiosity but those are social aspects:

  • Decrease of the appeal - many domes are just ugly if not designed properly.
  • Difficulty in obtaining building permits from local officials who are not familiar with the dome concept.
  • Social pressure of having a not-normal house.
  • Lack of trained people to construct them.
  • Resealing of the dome.

How We Could Fix Some Of Those Disadvantages?

Let’s take the most important aspect of it, the one that will not change with time - physical - space allocation above the ground floor.

Gaudi - Spanish architect who is famous from his paraboloids and parabolic copulas. Those copulas could be extremely high and maintain durability. They drastically increase the amount of space in a vertical shape.

Gaudi Increase of verical size by paraboloids pic: La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona by Gaudi

This shape maintains low complexity and can allow modularity. We can increase the amount of space vertically available for inhabitants. The other problems that were listed are mostly social one and apostatical that we don’t need to worry about for now. Paraboloids are manifestation of spirituality, looking upwards gives us unforgettable feeling. Imagine having this feeling on a daily basis when living in your own house. If we fulfill the requirements of a house that would be aesthetically pleasing and well designed, the social problem would disappear with time.

Each time when we watch Star Wars or look at new ideas for colonizing Mars, we see pictures like this:

House on Mars pic: Houses designed by AI SpaceFactory

The main causes of all human action are in the following order:

  1. Energy affecting the biological self.
  2. Genetic information that propagates into individuals and propagates into societies.
  3. Consciousness and self awareness, time-binding property of our minds that make us unique.

Although the first one can be provided by any kind of shelter, the last one, the most important for human soul has to transverse between our perception of beauty and perceiving of absolute. [Antoni Gaudí][] wanted to reach even higher - towards the sky. His concepts not only provide with more space but the visual notion of looking at parabolic arc brings aesthetic pleasure. This way we can change the dull dome shape to a piece of art.

What about allocating space about ground level?

In order to make the whole idea cheap and accessible we need to use modularity. There is an architect called and simplicity of George Suyama that is famous from building his house from modules that he covered with a protective layer.

The modularity of the inside lets us increase used surface. In our case the modules could be allocated on top of each other in order to allocate space vertically.

Inner and Outer Modules pic: Outer and inner modules.

How Could Habitat Modules Be Protected?

This is the culmination of the idea. Just as George Suyama we will cover our modules with outer layer - dome in this case.

I form the idea of surrounding inner modules made out of clay looks like this:

Modular House with Outer Paraboloid Dome Layer pic: Modular House with Outer Paraboloid Dome Layer

The outer layer could be in a dome-like, half-sphere shape like the clay one but that decreases efficiency. Instead, elongating and making it in a Gaudi style brings it closer to paraboloid shape. Like this:

Inner and Outer Modules pic: Inner habitable modules and outer window, solar and isolation modules.

The outer layer can be prefabricated, cheap, highly customizable, durable and sustainable. It could be achieved due to modularity. This way we could customize all the house, starting from the amount and type of rooms, finishing on the amount and type of windows.

Outer layer will be made of 3 types of modules:

  • Protective, isolating.
  • Window, transparent.
  • Solar modules.

Having such a construction we allow people to change the amount of modules for their needs giving them freedom and customization options. North sphere? More isolation modules. Low light? More transparent modules.

This idea seems like combining the overwhelming sphere like space of Buckminster’s Domes with current cubical solutions. This is putting a step forward when leaving from cubical room into awe-like space surrounding inhabited space. This is my notion of following Becker’s idea of homo heroic.

The shapes of the modules, connections, dimensions, materials etc will be investigated. The general idea is that modularity can allow the domes to be customizable and prefabricated.

To sum up:

Modules in this case could be of 2 kinds. Exterior for parabolic copula and interior for rooms. The interior modules are already popular idea, widely used in Germany. The ‘exterior’, ‘roof’, the paraboloid has to be design for manufacturing.

Each module would be filling the frame designed to be connected with others for quick assembling and offsite production. This allows for creativity when maintaining the simplicity and universality.

Sustainability

Dwellings our environment controlling machines. - Buckminster Fuller

Making the domes from renewable or natural materials is possible. Nowadays people build their actual domes from wood. As Bucky was saying, houses control the environment. Having a house that is energy efficient and build from renewable materials would actually make a difference. Especially if applied on a bigger scale.

The costs and materials is one thing but the maintenance, costs of repair, energy efficiency also counts. Having them made out of modules it would also be possible to replace them, move them or refurbish if needed.

The paraboloid shape of a house has always seemed to me very natural. Hives are build like that. Anthills are build like that. Slowly freezing drops create this shape. It is extremely difficult to see the cubical form build by complex nature. The only examples I can think of are crystals in inorganic chemistry.

Utilizing the greenhouse effect the domes natually provide, building them in a naturally occurring shape, partially utilizing natural materials - all that brings us closer to sustainability. We want to stay here for the next 1000 years, let’s think this way.

This was the great glory of the Greeks that they accepted and perfected Nature; as the Parthenon sprang out of the limestone terraces of the Acropolis, carrying the natural lines of the rock by gradations scarce perceptible into the finished and human beauty of frieze and pediment, and as, above, it was open for the blue air of heaven to descend into it for a habitation; - Edward Carpenter

Execution - How To Do it?

I feel that the reason why I arrived to this idea is mostly helping people and seeking wealth.

Wealth is the accomplished technological ability to protect, nurture, support and accommodate all growth, food, needs of life. Money is only an adopted means of inter exchanging this non-equitable items on real wealth. - Buckminster Fuller

I do not need to fear nor be much concerned about housing and I treat it mostly as a pleasure and goal in itself.

The way I thought about helping out is based on software principles and genuine care about everyone. It is also connected with the idea that comes from biology - DNA.

There is a project being developed in USA, it’s called Open Source Ecology. The goal of it is to provide humanity with blueprints for 50 machines that can be made by everyone to sustain modern complexity of life (in case of wars, catastrophes etc). What it means is that on one DVD disc a person can have all information hidden between many ones and zeros that could develop into 50 machines.

I want to follow on this idea but taking another approach. Instead of building simpler tools to maintain the current complex, I want to add by creating new simpler. Changing how people think about houses could make us use less thus require less complexity to sustain.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― Buckminster Fuller

Providing complete blueprints for using existing production capabilities around the world can release a lot of human potential.

Industrialization coordinate productivity can be employed directly by spontaneous corporation of humanity without business profit motivation. - Buckminster Fuller

We need a small set of instructions, encapsulated in a small package to transform it into a physical object with existing tools and human work. We do that on a minuscule level. 3D printing fans know that if there is a shape - there is an STL (blueprint format for printing). It’s in the internet and it’s probably free.

The goal here is to make a design, tested blueprints saved in a PDF file that allow for creating Gaudi Parabolic Dome in a universal way using materials commonly available everywhere.

Caring for everyone is also caring about complex and fragile ecosystems which the increasingly complex inventions make unsustainable. The revolution with cars not powered by combustibles has already started. Next revolution will be in sustainable housing. The amount of cheap houses needed to sustain living in a city in the next decades will increase at least two-folds. Try watching the speech of Alejandro Aravena where he talks about costs, numbers and giving people the freedom to build for themselves. Channelling their needs and possibilities.

Modular inside give people possibility of expanding and freedom to decide on time and choose adequate size.

Apart of modular construction there is a possibility of create a community or provide connections between the houses. You can see it on this project:

Modular dome connections pic: Foto from dome-building company EcoProyecta in Spain

When?

  1. As soon as we lay grounds for requirements, we will proceed to an initial design.
  2. The design will need to be tested in a real world and iterated at least once. As Buckminster way saying:

I must always reduce my inventions to physically working models and must never talked about the inventions until physically proven or disproven.

  1. Once tested, blueprints with instructions will be made and published.
  2. In order to measure the interest for the project, the kickstarter campaign will be made.

The first goal is to find a person interested in working together.

If you would like to build it together, let me know.

I leave you with a quote.

The private dwelling places, no longer costly and labyrinthine in proportion to the value and number of the treasures they contain, the indwellers will have unfettered egress. Neither man nor woman will be tied in slavery to the lodge which they inhabit; and in becoming once more a part of nature, the human habitation will at length cease to be what it is now for at least half the human race— a prison. So it will not be till we once more find our main interest and life in the life of the community and the gods that a new spirit will inspire our architecture. - Edward Carpenter


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