Let architects sing of aesthetics that bring
Rich clients in hordes to their knees;
Just give me a home, in a great circle dome
Where stresses and strains are at ease.

.R. Buckminster Fuller, Inventor of the Geodesic Dome
Geodesic Cave
Duration: 3 weeks

The “Geodesic Cave” Project

The goal of the Geodesic Cave is to have students give Meaning to Form & Function by utilizing Geodesic Domes and Plato's Allegory of the Cave. The structure will be created in Math & Physics, while the interior aesthetics will be defined in Humanities.

Scope of Work

Every team of two (2) students is responsible for creating a scaled-down model of the given Cardboard Geodesic Dome and completing all the required deliverables. Two teams will be selected by the HTH Faculty & Staff to construct the Full Scale Dome of their design, which will be debuted during Toga Night. The students are allowed to use any authorized tools in the classroom. The teams are responsible for all of the raw materials for the project. For those needing assistance, please discuss with the teachers.


Small Scale Model
Presentation Board
Master Action Plan & Individual Action Items
Work In Progress (WIP) Meetings & Emails
Individual Digital Portfolio


The Small Scale Model must:
-- Be scaled-down from the Cardboard Geodesic Dome
-- Be able to come apart and be put back together
-- Have a diameter between 1.5 ft. and 2 ft.
-- Represent the entire design (Designs on paper will not be taken into consideration)
-- Exceeding Expectations: Have at least two (2) substantial modifications from the original design

The Presentation Board must:
-- Explain what geodesic domes are
-- Give a short history of geodesic domes and their creator Bucky Fuller
-- Explain at least 4 major Math (2) & Physics (2) Concepts covered by Geodesic Domes
-- Have an Architect Note that discusses inspiration and the highlights of the model NEW!!!
-- Have the Name of the model and the team members
-- Exceeding Expectations: Creatively represent the information, beyond a flat surface and text

The Master Action Plan & Individual Action Items must:
-- Have ALL detailed items for the successful completion of the project
-- Reflect weekly benchmarks via the dates
-- Have team member assignments

The Work In Progress (WIP) Meetings & Emails must:
-- Have an up-to-date Master Action Plans & Individual Action Items PRINTED/ATTACHED
-- Establish completion of Weekly Benchmarks
-- Express via email or during private meetings regarding WIP problems with partnerships

The following benchmarks are to be completed by the end of the respective week.

Understanding of Proposal & Initial Master Action Plan
Design, Preparation, & Assigned Individual Action Items
Build & Test (Revise if needed)

The Digital Portfolio must:
-- Include all the information from the Presentation Board
-- Have images of the conceptual designs & Final model
-- Have working hyperlinks to Final Master Action Plans & Individual Action Items
-- Have a reflection covering "what went well, what could you do better, & what did you learn about yourself" in regards to the project itself AND the partnership


Grading Criteria

The students will be working in teams of two (2), but they will each receive an individual grade. The varying weights for the following criteria will determine their overall score.
-- Use and Explanation of Math & Physics Concepts
-- Thoughtfulness & Thoroughness
-- Work Ethic & Behavior
-- Deadlines & Deliverables
-- Exceeding Expectations


By participating in Geodesic Cave, the students are agreeing to all the safety issues discussed in class, when authorized tools are in use.

Additional Info

Bucky had begun efforts towards the development of a Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science which he defined as, "the effective application of the principles of science to the conscious design of our total environment in order to help make the Earth’s finite resources meet the needs of all humanity without disrupting the ecological processes of the planet." These hyperlinks are an attempt to minimize the waste of printed material.

Introduction to Geodesic Domes
How to Build a Geodesic Dome from Cardboard
Geodesic Domes Explained
Building Big - Domes (
Stability and Simple Trusses
Master Action Plan
Individual Action Items

Student Work

Sample Geodesic Domes [Small] [Big]

© Copyright 2004 Alfred Solis. All Rights Reserved.