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Thread: Geodesic dome houses

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Geodesic dome houses

    We don't have any geodesic dome houses in our neck of the woods but I've certainly seen them in different places growing up...have some thoughts and questions:

    - Does the planning realm consider these an architectural novelty of sorts?
    - Has anyone seen any recent permit applications in their municipality to build one of these?
    - In the instance(s) of any recent permit activity, any challenges in terms of meeting your local building codes? (fire sprinkler system requirement in single family residential perhaps?)
    - Any special considerations for these when enforcing setback requirements? Does the traditional method of measuring setbacks work fine for these, especially the houses that have no true flat wall face?
    - Any of these houses in your area that are old enough to be designated as historic and has been granted as such?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    - Does the planning realm consider these an architectural novelty of sorts?
    You'll have to take a survey, but IMHO yes.

    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    - Has anyone seen any recent permit applications in their municipality to build one of these?
    I have not. But you may want to look at the Denver Post article this week about dome houses...

    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    - In the instance(s) of any recent permit activity, any challenges in terms of meeting your local building codes? (fire sprinkler system requirement in single family residential perhaps?)
    N/A

    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    - Any special considerations for these when enforcing setback requirements? Does the traditional method of measuring setbacks work fine for these, especially the houses that have no true flat wall face?
    Personally, I'd take the measurement from the closest flat side, not a projecting corner.

    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    - Any of these houses in your area that are old enough to be designated as historic and has been granted as such?
    God, I hope not. ~35-40 years old is not historic.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Local flash-in-the-pan Jack White's brother owned a geodesic dome behind the train station.

    It is now for sale. Its an ugly blue thing. It even has a matching accessory building.

    The geodesic dome grew out of work that Buckminster Fller did on the Dymaxion House. The prototype of this home is located in the Henry Ford Museum. You can tour it. Its the closest I've been to the inside of a geodesic dome home. Though the museum also uses a cut-away of a dome to show a hippie commune.

  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I can't imagine there are many communities on earth where a geodesic dome house isn't an architectural novelty. It's not like someone living in a dome has a few too many beers one evening and has trouble locating their house because they all 'look alike'

    FWIW I'd look upon someone coming in with a permit application for a geodesic dome house in much the same way that an auto mechanic might regard someone bringing in an amphibicar for an oil change - interesting.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    The geodesic dome grew out of work that Buckminster Fller did on the Dymaxion House. The prototype of this home is located in the Henry Ford Museum. You can tour it. Its the closest I've been to the inside of a geodesic dome home.
    I lived in a Buckminster Fuller dome!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Fuller was ahead of his time, and still is!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    I have not. But you may want to look at the Denver Post article this week about dome houses...
    Thanks for pointing this out. I normally don't read the Saturday edition. Good read!

    Seems like most of these dome homes are built in more rural areas rather than mid-sized towns and cities. Perhaps the mindset of a dome dweller prefers a more rural than urban setting? Perhaps urban building standards would reject a permit for these because of general compatibility standards and/or four-sided architecture requirements? Perhaps a little of both?


    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    God, I hope not. ~35-40 years old is not historic.
    Stuff I've pulled online note that a company "Geodesic Domes & Homes" has/had been producing these since 1957. Seems that there are homes that are over the 50 year old mark where the historic discussion could take place.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    Stuff I've pulled online note that a company "Geodesic Domes & Homes" has/had been producing these since 1957. Seems that there are homes that are over the 50 year old mark where the historic discussion could take place.
    First, I lived in Europe for several years in a building built in 1848, amongst buildings built in the mid-1700s. Maybe this makes me roll my eyes at 50 years old being "historic". Nonetheless, there are some Gdomes that are that old, but it took more than a decade to tilt the rate curve upward to look different than a blip.

    I just don't think there's a big market for them to spend much time adjusting code for a small likelihood of permit app. And if you spend any time in one, you are quickly reminded of how nice flat walls are and how typical interior design dampens noise. But for areas prone to hurricanes, might be a good tradeoff.

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