a. Patent Summary

Geodesic Structure



US Patent No.:
December 19, 1961
Serial No.:
August 3, 1965
Inventions, The Patented Works of
R. Buckminster Fuller,
R. Buckminster Fuller

The invention relates to geodesic structures as comprised in the fabrication of domes, spheres, and spherical segments or truncation, as used in buildings and other architectural forms, or for other purposes. 

The fundamentals of geodesic structures are described in my prior Patent No. 2,682,235, granted June 29, 1954, in which are defined some of the more common terms in the relatively new art of geodesics. the present specification is addressed primarily to those who have a practical working knowledge of geodesic construction although it should be readily understood as well by architects and engineers following a background reading of the prior patent aforesaid. 

All omni-triangulated geodesic grids may have their triangle collected into hexagons plus twelve pentagons or into omni-diamond patterns as well as in simple omni-triangulated patterns. thus when we look at a typical geodesic “dome”, we may see an over-all pattern which emerges as a honeycomb of hexagons (with twelve pentagons as aforesaid), or as diamonds, or as simple triangles. Sometimes the hexagons and pentagons will be of pyramidal form and thus have triangular facets. My present invention relates to a particular advantageous development of the hexagonal-pentagonal manifestation of the geodesic pattern, having regard however to the possibility that the hexagons in the pattern may be faceted so as to reveal a typical pyramidal sub-form.

The “building blocks” of my present invention may consist of hexagonal sheets or plates, or of members which go together to form a framework defining openings of hexagonal and pentagonal form. In either case, openings in the spherical shell will appear at the vertexes and centers of the icosahedron triangles. These openings may be either circular or polygonal in form as desired. In all cases it is contemplated that the openings may be closed to form a continuous roof or wall as by the means which will be described herein.

Whether assembled initially from sheets or plates on the one hand or as an open framework on the other, the construction comprises tension rings of either circular or polygonal form, and in certain of my preferred constructions these tension rings will be interconnected with one another to form a comprehensive geodesic network of tension elements conforming to the geodesic pattern of the “building blocks”.

In general my invention consists of a structure of generally spherical form comprising a plurality of members joined together in a geodesic pattern of hexagons and pentagons and which includes tension elements disposed around the perimeters of areas within the geodesic pattern, these being areas whose borders are defined by edges of adjoining members. the tension elements are arranged to transmit forces from member to member through the geodesic pattern of hexagons and pentagons. this general statement will be easier to understand after study of the accompanying drawings and detailed description illustrative of the best mode contemplated by me for carrying out my invention.

R. Buckminster Fuller, “Geodesic Structures”, “Patent No. 3,197,927”, United States Patent Office, August 3, 1965, p.1-8