a. Description

Preparatory Studies
for the
Geodesic Dome,
The Icosahedron’s
Thirty-one Great Circle
Grid*

R. BUCKMINSTER
FULLER
(1947):

*-
The Artifacts of
R. Buckminster Fuller:
a Comprehensive
Collection of his
Designs and Drawings,
James Ward, Ed.,
Garland, New York,
(1984)



Fuller’s invention of the geodesic dome is closely related to his invention of the Dymaxion World map (c. 1946). The studies of the thirty-one great circles that Fuller made and had copyrighted in 1947 initially were total abstractions, later he adapted them to his method of transcribing the surface of the earth to a flat surface. He diagrammed this method in a sketchbook entitled Noah’s Ark II” (1950), now preserved at the Fuller archive. Further proof of the interrelation between the Fuller geodesic domes and his map, which he began in 1943, is the wood slat globe that he had built at Cornell University in 1952 with metal appliqués that represented the land masses of the earth.

Fuller, R. Buckminster, The Artifacts of R. Buckminster Fuller: a Comprehensive Collection of his Designs and Drawings, James Ward, ed., Garland, New York, 1984

Dome which results from half of the volume of a sphere which is produced by the regular array of a number of inscribed circles (25 or 31). These circles subdivide the surface of the sphere or dome into a pattern made of all triangular areas, all spherical triangles.

A start pattern can also be produced from the triangular subdivision, discriminating between left and right facing triangles. The subdivision of the triangular areas can vary from 4 to 20 triangles.

This case can create even, non-oriented (subdivision), discontinuous (surface) and crystalline (profile) enclosures.