There’s something inherently cozy about geodesic dome homes. Maybe it’s their rounded profiles, which are reminiscent of J.R.R.Tolkien’s hobbit houses. Maybe it’s the fact that these little structures are often placed in scenic locations like forests and lakefronts. Popularized by Buckminster Fuller back in the 1950s and 60s, geodesic domes are strong but lightweight thanks to their “omnitriangulated” surfaces. They’re also prime candidates for prefabrication, a process that eliminates most of the mess, noise, and waste caused by standard construction techniques. Prefab dome homes can be made from several different materials and are often sold in kits for DIY assembly in a location of one’s choosing.
Recently, a Slovenian company put its own spin on the geodesic dome home with its “Smartdome” series, which features four models all designed for different climates. “Sky Domes” are raised off the ground by a large central pillar, while “Aqua Domes” are intended for installation over water. “Tree Domes” are covered in foliage to blend into forest environments, and “Snow Domes” are built to withstand cold weather conditions. On their website, the company has shared a series of illustrations that depict their domes built into hillsides, set on elevated walkways and decks above the tops of trees, and clustered together in larger, interconnected communities.
Of course, the company’s vision goes far beyond a set of pretty pictures on the internet. Since launching in 2015, they’ve been able to manufacture a few beautiful examples of their modular, affordable geodesic domes. These mobile homes can be placed virtually anywhere and start at just 20,000 Euros, or about $22,400 USD. Almost no technical knowledge is required for setup, and the domes’ modularity allows them to be expanded, taken apart, or transported to new locations at the owner’s convenience.
Since each Smartdome unit rests on a set of adjustable steel legs, they can easily be placed on uneven terrains. The domes themselves are made from a laminated, moisture-resistant timber framework, a set of UV-resistant rubber gaskets to protect them from leaks, and galvanized steel. Depending on your preference, the home’s four-sided geometric components can be transparent, translucent, or opaque. The see-through varieties are made using a 3-D thermoformed polycarbonate, while the solid ones are lined with mineral wool for insulation.
Modular homes like these could help make geodesic units more attractive and accessible to people who want the expansive feel of a dome without having to go through the hassle associated with conventional construction. They make for great vacation homes in natural settings — places where normal buildings and homes would just seem disruptive. In particular, the transparent Smartdomes offer an unbeatable closeness to the outside world. Imagine laying in bed and gazing at the stars, or experiencing all the drama of a thunderstorm from the comfort of a dry, protected space.
Smartdomes are designed, manufactured, and sold in Slovenia. If you’re living in the United States and want to get your hands on your own geodesic dome home, there are a lot of manufacturers on this side of the Atlantic producing similar creations, like Pacific Domes and AiDomes.