All-ages Geodesic Dome Design
By Andrew Cegielski
An affordable and flexible all-ages way to build geodesic domes.
Type: Social Impact, Education
What inspired you or what is the idea that got you started?
The dome itself is an inspiring structure. The geometric shapes embedded in it are endlessly fascinating. And once I figured out how to build one, I couldn't help but build another, and another, and another! Buckminster Fuller, who popularized the geodesic dome in America, believed in the power of hands-on learning to engage kids' minds. I believe that building a geodesic dome with your own hands will capture the imagination and inspire all of us to be builders and makers. My design eliminates most of the barriers and frustrations with other dome-building methods. So, even if you've never set up a camping tent, who could build a huge dome and use it for whatever your heart desires.
What is your project about and how does it work?
My project is about affording all people the opportunity to build their own geodesic dome. The parts are all readily accessible and the design allows for simple and fast construction. A large dome can even be built by one person!
What did you learn by doing this project?
On a personal level, the one fascinating thing I learned about myself is how my mind never tires of the geodesic form. I am constantly building and tweaking the design in my mind. I do not put the form away like so many other ideas I have had. I have been constantly working on it since I came up with the method five years ago. From a practical point of view, I've learned many things about building and structural forces very quickly by building this way. Many things that seemed intuitive and simple turned out not to be. For example, covering 3D structures like a geodesic dome with 2D materials like a roll of plastic continues to be a subject of exploration and frustration.
What impact does your project have on others as well as yourself?
My dome has enabled so many positive interactions with other people. I have a geodesic dome in my front yard and people are always stopping to ask me what it is or what I use it for. And I always reply by asking, "What do you imagine it can be? What would you use it for?" It is always a happy conversation. At maker faires, I have watched children and adults enter inside the geodesic dome and immediately begin dancing around. A geodesic dome creates a wonderful space to find ourselves and each other.