# SPACE FRAMES AND GEODESIC DOMES

```SPACE FRAMES AND
GEODESIC DOMES
SPACE FRAMES AND
GEODESIC DOMES
Objectives:
1. Students will be exposed to the concepts of point,
line, plane and dimensions in relationship to the
triangle.
2. Understand the basic structural engineering
concepts that underlie geodesic dome construction;
modern building materials in dome construction;
and
4. Have an increased awareness of more in-depth
concepts relating to the study of architecture,
geometry, and structures.
WARM UP ACTIVITY
• Select a team member that you will plan with
to complete this project;
• Write a four to six sentence Design Statement
halls, etc.) are built without columns. Include
your definitions of a geodesic dome and a
space frame.
Vocabulary
• A polyhedron (many surfaces) is a geometric
solid in three dimensions with flat faces and
straight edges.
• A tetrahedron is a polyhedron with four sides,
but is also called a pyramid.
• A hexahedron is a polyhedron with six sides, but
is also called a cube.
• A polyhedron with six rectangles as sides also
has many names—a rectangular parallelepided,
rectangular prism, or box.
• An octahedron is a polyhedron with eight faces.
Vocabulary
• Tension is a force that acts to expand or
lengthen the thing it is acting on.
• Compression is a force that acts to compress
or shorten the thing it is acting on.
• SPACE FRAME STRUCTURE
SPACE FRAMES CAN SPAN LONG
DISTANCES
SPACE FRAMES
• A space frame is a truss-like, lightweight rigid
structure constructed from interlocking struts
in a geometric pattern.
SPACE FRAMES
• Space frames usually utilize a
multidirectional span, and are often used to
accomplish long spans with few supports.
SPACE FRAMES
• They derive their strength from the inherent
rigidity of the triangular frame; flexing loads
(bending moments) are transmitted as tension
and compression loads along the length of
each strut.
Simplified space frame roof with the
half-octahedron highlighted in blue
• Space frames are an increasingly common
architectural technique especially for large
roof spans in modernist commercial and
industrial buildings
Some space frame applications
include:
• Hotel/Hospital/commercial building
entrances
• Commercial building lobbies/atriums
• Parking canopies
Advantages of space frame systems over
conventional systems:
 Random column placement
 Column-free spaces
 Minimal perimeter support
 Design freedom
 Supports all types of roofing
GEODESIC DOMES
• A geodesic dome is a sphere-like structure
composed of a complex network of triangles.
GEODESIC DOMES
• Geodesic domes are usually
hemispheres (parts of spheres, like
half a ball) made up of triangles.
The triangles have 3 parts:
–the face - the part in the middle
–the edge - the line between corners
–the vertex - where the edges meet
The triangles create a self-bracing
framework that gives structural
strength while using a minimum of
material.
DOMES
A dome’s design is dependent upon
many factors, including:
• Needed area and span, or distance between
supports;
• Budget and building schedule;
• Architect’s and /or client’s aesthetic
preferences;
• Forces, such as compression and tension,
acting on the structure; and
• Building materials.
EXAMPLES OF GEODESIC DOMES:
Spaceship Earth, the AT&amp;T Pavilion at Epcot in
Disney World, Florida, is an adaptation of
Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome
Tacoma Dome in Washington State
Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Conservatory
Biosphere desert project in Arizona
Des Moines Arboretum, a self contained
ecosphere
Engineering Disasters
Engineers must be concerned about safety at all
times. Lives are at stake when bridges, buildings, or
structures collapse. Engineers must design structures to
withstand all kinds of weather conditions and all types of
loads. While the goal is to have no design fail, engineers
examine and learn from past mistakes to avoid such
failures in the future.
• Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Tacoma, Washington (failed in
1940)
10 killed
Engineering Disasters
• Falls View Bridge, Niagara Falls (failed 1938)
18 killed
• Tay Bridge, Scotland (failed in 1879)
29 killed
• Quebec Bridge, St. Lawrence River (failed
1907,1916)
45 killed
Engineering Disasters
• Point Pleasant/Silver Bridge, Ohio River
(failed 1967)
75 killed
• Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse, Kansas City,
Missouri (failed in 1981)
112 killed
TEAM CHALLENGE
ASSIGNMENT
The team challenge is to build a 3dimensional triangle;
Team members must discuss the
concept among themselves as they
each attempt to build a model.
15 minutes…
TEAM SYNTHESIS
Team members must attempt to join
their 3-dimensional triangles;
Each link should be connected firmly
and completely;
Repeat the process until four triangles
joined together in a square.
20 minutes…
Rubric For Space Frame
Project
Layout/ Design
Information
Contributions
Quality Of Work
Following Classroom Guidelines
Brief Constructed Response
Student must complete a responding to one of the
following topics:
 You are a hired Engineer designed to build a space
frame for the new town. Your employers are not
convinced that your space frame design would be
successful. Create a BCR that explains how your
space frame will withstand the forces placed on
space frames: Compression, Tension, Shear, and
Torsion.
Brief Constructed Response
Student must complete a responding to one of
the following topics:
You are a space frame inspector that has
been hired to inspect space frames. Create a
BCR that explains how “Live” and “Dead”
design. Use examples to illustrate how these
HOMEWORK
1. Research: Buckminster Fuller
accomplishments and
contributions achieved by
Buckminster Fuller and explain
how they relate to today’s
Architectural structures.
One to Two Pages
EVALUATION
QUESTIONS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL GROUPS:
1. How did you come up with the initial design for
frame?
3. Which geometric shapes did you use in your space
frame? Why?
4. How does the strength of the space frame compare
to the weight of the space frame?
5. Would you make any changes in the design of your
space frame?
EVALUATION
QUESTIONS FOR THE WHOLE GROUP:
1. Which space frame was the longest? Tallest?
Strongest? Heaviest? Why?
2. What materials do you envision being used in
future space frames?
3. How can computers help design space
frames?
LET’S START
BUILDING!!!!!
```