Jul 25, 2023 - News

Dome homes could be climate change savior

The fully assembled aluminum geodesic dome

The geodesic dome. Photo: Screenshot of Smithsonian National Museum of American History YouTube time lapse

The climate change homes of tomorrow could be dome structures — cheap to build and resilient against hurricane-force winds.

Why it matters: Experts say increasingly hostile weather could lead homebuilders to popularize disaster-proof designs like domes, which have eluded the mass market for decades.

Case in point: Architecture students in D.C. recently assembled a geodesic dome able to withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour and harsh locales such as polar regions.

  • Almost 1,000 pieces of recycled scrap aluminum were put together by professors and students from The Catholic University of America.
  • The dome rises 25 feet high and is 49 feet wide at the National Museum of American History, where it remains on display through Thursday, according to the Smithsonian website.

What they're saying: "A sphere is inherently the strongest shape," Catholic University architecture professor Tonya Ohnstad tells Axios.

  • The parts are space-saving and aren't too heavy: "I fit this whole dome in the back of my minivan."

Flashback: Dome architecture is ancient, but the geodesic dome was popularized by 20th-century architect, engineer, and inventor R. Buckminster Fuller.

  • It never took off in the 1960s, but climate change is giving it a new life.

Zoom in: Their most immediate use is in disaster areas, says museum curator Abeer Saha. Geodesic dome companies shipped their products to Turkey after earthquakes in February.

  • Custom geodesic homes can run more expensive than typical homes, Saha adds. But premanufactured domes are more affordable.
  • "You can buy a geodesic dome tiny home for less than $10,000."

Watch time lapse


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