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Home sweet dome

'House of the future' has presence in Southbridge

Ed Burden stands on the deck surrounding his 30-year-old dome home on Guelphwood Road in Southbridge. Mark Ashton. (click for larger version)
May 10, 2012
SOUTHBRIDGE — It was almost six decades ago that American architect/engineer/author/futurist R. Buckminster Fuller conceived the idea of the "geodesic dome home" as an affordable, energy-efficient answer to the housing needs of "a troubled planet."

According to Internet sources, the sphere-like (or partial sphere-like) structure gets its name from "geodesic," the Latin term for "earth dividing," and the "geodesic line" — the shortest distance between any two points on a sphere. The dome design combines triangles with arches to produce a self-bracing framework that gives structural strength and uses — at least in theory — less material than conventional, box-like housing designs.

Because the dome is extremely strong for its weight, Fuller saw it as an inherently stable housing structure enclosing the "greatest volume for the least surface area." He envisioned it as a hope for the future of housing.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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