a. Patent Description

Building Construction,
“Geodesic Patent”



US Patent No.:
December 12, 1951
Serial No.:
June 29, 1954

Inventions, The Patented Works of R.
Buckminster Fuller

A good index to the performance of any building frame is the structural weight required to shelter a square foot of floor from the weather. in conventional wall and roof designs the figure is often 50lbs. to the square foot. I have discovered how to do the job at around 0.78lb. per square ft. by constructing a frame of generally spherical form in which the main structural elements are interconnected in a geodesic pattern of approximate great circle arcs intersecting to form a three way grid, and covering or lining this frame with a skin of plastic material.

My “three-way grid” of structural members results in substantially uniform stressing of all members, and the framework itself acts almost as a membrane in absorbing and distributing loads. The resultant structure is a spidery framework of many light pieces, such as aluminum rods, tubes, sheets, or extruded sections, which so complement one another in the particular pattern of the finished assembly as to give an extremely favorable weight-strength ratio, and withstand high stresses. For example, the “8C270 Weather-break” constructed in accordance with my invention will support 7 lbs. with each ounce of structure and is able to withstand wind velocities up to 150 miles per hour. It is a dome 49 ft. in diameter, enclosing 20,815 cu. ft. of space, yet the frame is made of light short struts which pack into a bundle 2ft. by 4ft. by 5ft. weighing only 1000 lbs. The plastic skin weighs 140 lbs. making the total weight of this “weatherbreak” a mere 1140lbs.

R. Buckminster Fuller, “Building Construction (“Geodesic”) Patent, 2,682,235”, United States Patent Office, June 29, 1954, p.1-12