Re: Pattern Language and domes
From: Vinay Gupta (
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 1997 13:14:12 -0500
Mike Malone:
>not appropriate for cold climates. The main criteria for any design for 
>housing should be whether it feels, looks, and lives right for the 
>people who will live in it.  Othe important criteria are how well it 
>fits the surrounding enviroment, the amount of resources it consumes 
>to build and use, and how pleasing it is to look at for other people 
>that need to look at it. The weight of these last criteria will vary 
>depending the critics viewpoint.

To these I'd add: should consume a minimum not just of the world's
resources, but of the resources of the individuals who will live in

I'm a big proponent of the idea of people simply working less hours
to save the world, of an overall *decrease* in productivity as a simple
way to make across-the-board cuts in expenditure and use of resources,
as well as improving quality of life by reminding people that the world
isn't made up of 8x8 cubicles arranged in rows.  

>My personal experience with dome is mostly pleasent. I find the 
>circular space (in 3 dimenitions) wonderful. I have not lived in a 
>dome except as a guest though. One thing I have noticed in domes is 
>unusual acoustics. Quitely spoken words can be heard clearly across 
>the dome, while nearly inaudible closer to the speaker. Apparently 
>the curved surfaces act as reflecters that focus the sound.


Wow... you folks are sharp - another of the "design ideosyncracies"
rears it's ugly head.  

Domes with an interior surface like sheetrock or wood act very much
like those parabolic reflector exhibits you see in science museums;
you whisper at one end, the dome collects the sound and refocusses it
somewhere on the other side of the dome.

While this doesn't sound like *that* big a problem, reports do suggest
that it wears thin as a house feature mightly quickly.

Therefore, our dome kits use Soundasote for all the interior panels.
Soundasote is a sound-absorbing board with excellent accoustic and
physical properties, and it's recycled and old technology to boot
(been in production since 1910!).  It's a really nice material.

Because the panels soak up much of the sound which would otherwise
reflect around the dome, the accoustic properties of the house are
much more predictable and pleasant.

I guess this is another one of those things that have been learned
by trial and error: if domes ever have a 500-year history, the idea 
of *not* using a sound-deadening interior surface will seem as crazy 
as not using insulation looks right now.

As always, if anybody has any questions, or objections to the somewhat
commercial nature of these posts, please let me know.


Vinay Gupta
Worldview Livingspace

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