Fun With Geodesics

What does "geodesic mean?  See answer further down this page.

Click for How-To Instructions:

Build an emergency shelter just like the one donated at Lincoln Park´s Occupy Portland site.  Build a small one out of paper plates just to get a feel for the method. Then move on to bigger and stronger materials! We would love to see pictures and hear all about your experiences constructing and living in your RanDome. For free consultation during your building process please write to Dick Fischbeck at

What does "Geodesic" mean?  
Geodesic = geo (earth) + des (dissect) + ic (pertaining to)
Literally speaking "geodesic" means "earth dividing"

Photo Credit:
    "Geodesic" pertains to the lines along curved surfaces (like the earth). Geodesic lines are the shortest distance between two points on a curved surface and provide the strongest resistance. In traditional geodesic structures the geodesic lines line up along great circles in different directions. Great circles run along a sphere at its widest point - dividing it exactly in half and distributing the stress of the structures weight. Triangles are formed where all the great circles of a sphere meet. Since a triangles edges support each other they are very strong.  A geodesic dome is extremely strong because the stress if a hard bump on any part of the structure is resisted by all the triangles, not just the few triangles that got hit.

    Geometry =  geo (earth) +  metry (measuring or measurement)
    • Euclidean vs. Non-Euclidian geometry. Euclidean geometry deals with two-dimensions.  But the real world is three-dimensional so newer systems of non-Euclidean geometry were developed - such as projective geometry.
    • Transformational Geometry (from Wikipedia)In mathematics, a transformation in elementary terms is any of a variety of different operations from geometry, such as rotations, reflections and translations. These can be carried out in Euclidean space, particularly in dimensions 2 and 3. 
    • "Synergetics is Buckminster Fuller's name for the geometry he advanced based on the patterns of energy that he saw in nature. His geometry hinges on the tetrahedron, the simplest structural system within insideness and outsideness." See also: Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking
    Fun fact:  Everything that is matter is a polyhedron, even you and me. In geometry, polyhedra are associated into pairs called duals, where the vertices of one correspond to the faces of the other. A tetrahedron is its own dual.
        Dome construction.  Canada 1950 photo:  Buckminster Fuller Institute (