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Geodesic Dome——The History of The Dome


People who often camp or travel should be familiar with tents. As an essential outdoor product, tents have developed into many subdivided types with different materials, uses and shapes. Today I would like to introduce to you the history of a grid ball dome tent.

What is a grid dome?

The ball net shell is the net dome, which is divided into single-layer spherical net shell and double-layer spherical net shell. The grid rib layout forms include rib ring type, cross diagonal bar type, joint square type, and three-way grid type.

The shape of the mesh can be triangle, rhombus or hexagon, preferably triangle, because triangle is a geometrically invariant system on the plane, while rhombus or hexagon is a geometrically variable system on the plane, but after forming a spherical mesh shell, Because it is a hyperboloid, even if it is a geometrically variable body, it still has great stiffness.

Who invented the lattice dome?

The inventor of the lattice dome is Richard Buckminster Fuller.

Fuller was born July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983. Fullerene is a common sight in high school chemistry textbooks. It is a hollow cage molecule formed by the combination of 60 carbon atoms, or more intuitively, it can be called fullerene.

The theme of the 1967 Montreal World Expo was “Man and the World.” At that time, the two camps were confronting each other, and both the Soviet Union and the United States were fully committed to the “Moon Landing Plan.” The U.S. Pavilion designed by Fuller expressed mankind’s yearning for the moon landing to the extreme, and has become the most frequently mentioned and most unfashionable architectural design at all previous World Expos.

Now, there are more than 300,000 such “Geodesic Dome” around the world. They are not only used as giant exhibition halls, but also used in military and civil construction fields. The lightweight, strong, economical and practical geodesic grid spherical dome just confirms Fuller’s famous saying: “doing the most with the least”. It was fuller spheres that inspired the discovery of fullerenes.


What are the characteristics and uses of grid spherical domes?

There are many types and forms of reticulated shell structures, and the range of choices in design is wide. There are many factors that influence the selection. It is necessary to consider not only the use function, aesthetics, and space characteristics, but also the span size, stiffness requirements, plane shape, and support of the structure. Conditions, production and installation, technical and economic indicators and other factors, therefore, the structural form of the reticulated shell should be reasonably determined through technical and economic comparison according to the actual situation of the project.


For example, the dome of the Reichstag building during renovation uses a ribbed lattice shell, and there is a spiral passage in the middle of the atrium that leads people to the dome and observation platform. Compared with the concrete grid shell, the combination of steel and glass has better permeability, and is also more in line with Mies’s definition of modern architecture and modern people’s aesthetic standards.

This is the basic information about the grid spherical dome. Architecture is constantly changing and progressing according to different eras, different backgrounds, people’s aesthetic styles and industrial development.

In the West, Fuller can associate it with the moon, full of a sense of technology and fantasy about the universe; in the East, it originated from the philosophical thought of “the sky is round and the earth is round”, and contains the ideological connotations of many disciplines.

Therefore, no matter what kind of environment it is, a tent that is safe, beautiful, and highly practical has always been everyone’s first choice for camping.

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