Simplified Geodesic Dome Alternative

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to live in a Dome Home. I’m on the latter part of my lifespan now and for many reasons that I shall not bore you with, I have jot gotten around to making that dream a reality.

My idea was to live in a very cool space that would actually be a semi-permanent home that I could easily move whenever I wanted. Not as easily as a tent, but easy enough that if things changed, I could still take it with me without too much time and effort.

Another reason was the fact that domes are strong enough that you can easily hang hammocks in them. You cannot do that in a tent.

Now that I’m older and try to simplify all aspects of my life, I’ve found some alternatives to the classic Buckminster Fuller domes.

Don’t get me wrong, I still Love the classic Fuller Domes, but I don’t have the mental fortitude for dealing with the math and complication involved… So I’ve been looking for another, simpler alternative, and I’ve found a few that I’d like to share with other lazy – I mean, simple-minded individuals out there.

Domes have evolved from the classic Wooden Dome Houses to the more futuristic dome of today:

Now, after giving it some thought, my first alternative to a Fuller Dome was simply a Tipi.

They’re beautiful, classic, portable and simple. They represent everything that was good about the old Native American Plains People – I love Tipis.

But, after buying a very good book on Tipi Building, I realized the one drawback that was a deal breaker for me: the really long and heavy poles meant that the Tipi was not t very portable in modern day standards… Not to mention the 20 trees that I’d have to kill in the process.

So I went back to thinking about Conduit Domes, but for me, the hard part about domes is cutting and preparing different sized tubes and later sorting through them when you’re erecting the dome. Also, different sized triangles meant that making the covering would mean going over the same type of hassle yet again.


So I decided that if I could come up with a simpler conduit dome that could be covered with canvas or wood, it would make a simpler dome or structure that would fit my simple shelter needs.

Studying Archimedian Solids, gave me hope because each and every edge is the exact same size – and each edge would be a tube in real life.

I really liked the look and feel of the tetrahedron and cuboctahedron and started playing with that.

The tetrahedron was simple and elegant, but it would  give me walls that would be too steep for an actual tent house.

The cuboctahedron, or half of it, looked promising… It is a simple combination of squares and triangles which also looked very elegant.

I started making some paper models that I drew on Inkscape,  printed and put together.


All of them have edges of the same length. (Except the Fuller 2v Dome in the middle).

One that I really liked was what I’m calling the “Neo Tipi.”

It’s based on the tetrahedron but has a cuboctahedron on top and kind of extended from all sides.

20180106_080639 20180106_080557 20180106_080548

I really like this one because it’s very Tipi-like. It can be built with strits of about 4 to 5 feet long which would make a decent sized Tipi that I can hang my hammock in and would also be easy to set up and take apart.

You could also make a loft on the hexagon that forms the bottom of the cuboctahedron top part if you’re weird and not into hammocks.

I REALLY like this one! I plan to make one of these and use it instead of a tent – stay tuned…

Now, the other thing that I found that is really promising for a larger structure that could actually be used as a semi-permanent or even permanent house is a Lobel Dome. This French guy had been thinking the same thing as me and wanted to make domes that had all edges or struts that were the same length.

After spending days and days looking through his designs I found one that looked like it would work for the size of shelter I was looking to build. He calls it the 1-2-1.3P:

photo-1 20180106_081043 20180106_081203 20180106_081218

Lobel Dome next to a Fuller 2v Dome:


Now, the Fuller Dome is much stronger. Look at this video and you can see how the Lobel Dome is much weaker in certain areas than the Neo-Tipi and Fuller Dome:

Anyway, I will keep experimenting with these structures and post updates.

I invite you to play around with these and see what you come up with and let me know how it goes through our contact page.