Geodeziniai kupolai

Sublime design: the geodesic dome


From hippie houses and kids’ play frames to military radar stations and mountaineering tents, the geodesic dome has fascinated people as a way of building.

Why? Simply because it is so extraordinarily different from standard forms of shelter. The latticework frame of a geodesic dome is at once an incredibly efficient structure and an exotic, beguiling form.

What is a geodesic dome?

The term “geodesic” comes from geodesy, the science of measuring the size and shape of Earth. A geodesic dome is a partial-spherical shell structure that is composed of triangular elements derived from geodesics.


Radomes (radar-domes) at the Misawa Security Operations Center, Misawa, Japan. Wikimedia Commons

The attraction for building is that geodesic domes are both strong and light. The triangulated three-dimensional skin is extremely structurally efficient. The struts that make up the dome work in both compression and tension – spreading the forces on the structure. That means a geodesic dome can be built to span a large distance and be very strong, with a lot less material.

The small scale of the components needed to build a geodesic structure is also an attraction. The struts and connectors for a dome can often be made and transported to a site much more easily than conventional columns and beams.

A design classic?

Given gezf57g96k-1410851804odesic structures derive from regular geometric forms that can be recognised in nature, it might be argued that the geodesic dome wasn’t “designed” by anyone.

But the dome found a charismatic champion in American architect Buckminster Fuller. He wasn’t its inventor, but he did the most to systematise and develop the mathematics for building geodesic domes, even taking out a patent in 1954.

“Bucky” was himself a phenomenon – an inventor and visionary whose enthralling, rambling lectures spanned technology, engineering, environmentalism, philosophy, life and the universe. He caught the attention of everyone from military generals to hippie commune dwellers.

Bucky pitched the geodesic dome as a device for freedom: a wholly new form of lightweight structure that, theoretically, could be placed anywhere. Largely through his non-stop promotion, the geodesic dome’s appeal grew dramatically through the 1960s and 70s.


Spaceship Earth at Epcot, USA.

Domes were put to use by governments across the world as weather stations, long-range radar stations and storage depots. Fuller even designed the US pavilion at the 1967 World Expo in Montreal as a 76-metre diameter geodesic dome. Its adventurous design and engineering, like that of the Epcot Center’s “Spaceship Earth”, opened in 1982, offered a thrilling vision of the future.

The Hippie Dome

For all the visual drama and excitement of such “space age” structures, the geodesic dome’s most powerful impact has been as a symbol of alternative living. Made popular by publications such as Lloyd Kahn’s Domebook 1 (1970) and Domebook 2 (1971), by the 1970s no self-respecting counterculture radical would be seen without the components of a dome in the trunk of their VW Beetle.


Geodesic domes gave form to desires for living differently. They were understood to be an architecture that fused a sense of the self with a sense of the cosmos.

Drop City was a counterculture artists’ community that formed in southern Colorado in 1965. Wikimedia Commons

Where corners and square buildings restricted the mind – domes supposedly expanded them. Domes became common first shelters in alternative, self-build communities from Nevada, USA to Nimbin, Australia, where they were intended to help create communal, self-supporting, non-hierarchical ways of being.

An eternal curiosity

They also leaked. A lot. They overheated, and people got cranky living together without walls. This was not the connection with the universe that most had imagined. So the fad passed and we’re not all living communally in domes delivered by helicopters.

Still, it wasn’t the end for this quixotic adventure in design. It’s not hard to find examples of its enduring appeal. The geodesic dome is a recurring subject of student architecture projects. My daughter’s school playground features a geodesic climbing frame and a whole new generation is discovering the dome as a crucible for alternative living.

The geodesic dome still fascinates, speaking to us of science fiction futures and spaces of transformative living.


Roof above Canary Wharf Crossrail Station Completes


Roof above Canary Wharf Crossrail Station Completes 

The final aluminium piece was placed on the Foster+Partners designed roof, marking the structural completion of the project which began in May 2009.

The roof will sit above a new roof garden and Canary Wharf Group’s four storey, 115,000 sq ft retail and leisure development including shops, restaurants, bars and a cinema. The roof garden and first phase of the retail and leisure space will open in May 2015, three years before trains run through the station.

Work began on the new station in May 2009 by creating a 250m long and 30m wide watertight dam in the waters of North Dock, using an innovative ‘silent’ piling method. The station box was then built ‘top down,’ 28 metres below the water surface to create the ticket hall and platform levels.


Canary Wharf is the most progressed of Crossrail’s 10 new stations. Eight 40 metre-long escalators, four lifts, flooring, wall cladding and space for station services are all in place in the ticket hall level.

Crossrail’s construction remains on time and within budget. Its tunnelling programme is over 80% complete. When Crossrail opens in 2018, it will increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10 per cent and cut journey times across the city, bringing an extra 1.5m people within 45 minutes of central London.


Belgium Pavilion Expo 2015 by Patrick Genard y Asociados


The Belgian Pavilion project for the Milan Expo 2015 won by Besix/Vanhout and conceived by Patrick Genard & ass/ Marc Belderbos is the outcome ofthree great axes of reflection: the theme of the Milan 2015 exposition “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, “environmental sustainability and innovative technology” and finally a “showcase pavilion of the Belgian identity”.


These 3 themes come together over the question of land development. Following Alberti’s formula, “The house is a small city and the city a large house”, the project proposes making the Belgian Pavilion a reduced model of an excellent urban planning solution: the “Lobe City”.

According to preexisting examples (Berlin, Copenhagen, etc) or more recently developed (Fribourg, Aalst, etc) having demonstrated their great urban quality, the model proposes green insertions to separate the neighborhoods and oxygenate the city at its center, while maintaining a concentric network of rings unifying the different neighborhoods. This notion of sustainability at the regional scale, of urban development has structured the concept of the pavilion and its surroundings.

The concept regarding rural land management comes from the intention of reconciling, on one side,  the idea of a generous and reassuring farmland, faithful to the cultural and ideological representation of traditional Belgian and European landscapes, with on the other, the idea of technological and ethical  progress which brings forth the debate over food production of tomorrow.


Within this framework, rural land management will along a gentle slope, associate farming, bucolic and floral environments with a collection of experimental facilities and cutting edge technologies.

Within this context, the urban plan of the “Lobe City” becomes architecture: the residential neighborhoods are the constructed volumes-the wood pavilions and the Farm-throughout which light circulates and upon the view over the surrounding greenery. The historic center of the city becomes the atrium, the heart of the project, formalized by a large geodesic structure in glass.

The volumes of the pavilion, are also different allusions to the agricultural and horticultural architecture of Belgium: The large volume of the geodesic canopy also presents itself as a reference to the grand Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, and the first volume, the Farm, reinterprets the traditional morphology of the Belgian farm, elongated with a gabled roof, as well as with the faceted wood pavilions, to the contemporary organic forms, reuniting the two eras.

A sustainable pavilion
Man’s need of natural resources to survive necessitates that he control these latter: sustainability= survival. Furthermore the notion of regional sustainability which has guided the initial concept of the project, the pavilion has followed the essential rules for the creation of a sustainable building.

The trias principle is used for energy demand, material use and water consumption. This green philosophy is pursued throughout all levels of the project, and therefore in the choice of materials and construction, natural, easily recyclable, insulating, modular for ease of disassembly and not leaving a footprint on the site. Source by : Patrick Genard y Asociados.

Location: Milano, Italy
Architects: Patrick Genard y Asociados
Partner: Marc Belderbos, Sylvain Carlet Isern Serra
Project Team: Bruno Conigliano, Dariela Hentschel, Christophe Siredey, Sigfrid Pascual, Diego Rey, Nathalie Meric,Silvina Cragnolino, Carolina Gomes, Ingrid Macau, Ron Calvo
Engineers: BESIX Design Department, Cenergie Berchem
Landscape Designer: JNC International
Telecommunications: Arch & Teco Engineering
Acoustics: ASM Acoustics
General contractor: SM Besix/ Vanhout
Area Lot : 2717 m2
Year: 2015
Images: Courtesy by Patrick Genard y Asociados

Article by Marco Rinaldi

Hangzhou Sports Park

Hangzhou Sports Park | NBBJ & CCDI

“The issue is not about how to sustain a large stadium commercially between games, but is about how a massive stadium can lead a 2 million-square-meter mixed use commercial program in a green park setting, form a future urban center, and redefine a new lifestyle. Our design provides what is exactly needed to support that agenda.” Hu Xiaoming, design director of CCDI’s Sports Division.

Arch2o Hangzhou Sports Park  NBBJ & CCDI - 1

Courtesy of  NBBJ & CCDI

The Hangzhou Sports Park is a design collaboration between NBBJ and CCDI for Hangzhou’s new urban environment and is situated on the Qian Tang riverfront opposite the new Central Business District. Balancing the long-term commercial viability of the sports development, the park creates picturesque and sustainable public spaces that redefine sustainable design excellence in sports facilities while also retaining the importance of circulation.

Arch2o Hangzhou Sports Park  NBBJ & CCDI - 2

Courtesy of  NBBJ & CCDI

A weaving pedestrian experience is created through the flowing forms of the landscape and pathways that echo the geometries of the nearby river delta. The site is organized to clearly define circulation and areas of concentrated activities, tying together the sports and commercial programs. The paths also connect the two planned major transportation hubs on the east and west ends of the site, allowing not only easy movement in and around the park but in and out of it as well.

Arch2o Hangzhou Sports Park  NBBJ & CCDI - 5

Courtesy of  NBBJ & CCDI

The park is composed of three layers of activity. The above-grade areas are defined by a platform that indicates the higher concentrated areas of activity deemed the ‘sports boulevard’ that consists of the main stadium and tennis tournament facilities. The ground level is designated for public recreation activities such as alternative and extreme sports and was designed using a vast array of pathways, gardens, and plazas to accommodate the public’s needs. Finally sunken spaces and courtyards lead to an extensive below-grade retail facility containing boutique stores, restaurants, and a multiplex cinema.

Arch2o Hangzhou Sports Park  NBBJ & CCDI - 7

Courtesy of  NBBJ & CCDI

The most dominant feature of the park, a 80,000-seat Main Stadium, broke ground in December of 2009 and is slated for completion in 2013 as an premier international sports venue. According to the designers, the stadium’s exterior shell geometry draws from the serene flora iconography found on the banks of Hangzhou’s West Lake in order to create a powerful and unique image along the fast growing Qian Tang riverfront. On the north end of the stadium, the seating bowl opens to reveal a view to the Yangtze riverfront, providing a connection between the stadium and the new Central Business District to exist. The circulation experience was carried through the stadium by means of the bowl program and structure that coordinated with the exterior shell to create a unique concourse.


Serpenti installation


Serpenti installation
Photo via

Architect Zaha Hadid’s ‘Serpenti’ art installation premiered on the opening day of Milan Design Week. The installation is inspired by Bulgari’s timeless icon, the Serpenti, which is a line of jewelry, watches, and leather goods.

Serpenti installation
Photo via

Until 19 April, the Serpenti installation will be on display in the garden of Bulgari Hotel in Milan. This sinuous structure is a collaboration between Bulgari and Zaha Hadid and meant as an artistic expression of one of Bulgari’s most iconic jewellery lines.

Serpenti installation

The installation expands for 20 meters and 3 meters in height and was designed for the Bulgari’s pavilion at Abu Dhabi Art Fair in 2011. The  structure’s polygons become exhibitors to host a selection of the creations Serpenti Bulgari from the forties to our days.

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kebony kreod sculpture

Surface Design Award Winner: Kebony KREOD Sculpture

Project Description from KREOD:

KREOD is a unique, portable venue where companies, organisations and brands can present themselves in beautiful, powerful ways within a flexible, functional and dynamic space.

We believe that no two events are the same. The ideal venue should be capable of infinite adaptability to provide a unique setting for each new experience. It should resonate with the high quality and high expectations of its users.

KREOD will form the centrepiece of the busy public space, Peninsula Square between the Emirates Air Line and The O2 Arena – the official venue for the London 2012 Olympic Gymnastics, Basketball Finals and Wheelchair Basketball.

The brainchild of Chun Qing Li, Managing Director of Pavilion Architecture, KREOD is an innovative architectural sculpture, organic in form, environmentally-friendly and inspired by nature. Resembling three seeds, these three 20m2 pods combine through a series of interlocking hexagons to create an enclosed structure that is not only magnificently-intricate but secure and weatherproof. KREOD functions beautifully both as an architectural landmark and an imaginative exhibition space – its three pods can be combined in a variety of configurations or installed as free-standing forms.

Using state-of-the-art parametric design tools and digital fabrication, KREOD brings together some of the most talented designers, engineers and innovative materials to challenge current thinking and showcase sustainable and forward-thinking building methods. Structural engineers Ramboll UK worked alongside geometry consultant Evolute, TensileFabric, Serge Ferrari, Targetti Poulsen and AR18 to deliver this unique eye-catching structure.

KREOD consists of three compartments and has a footprint of 60 square metres (3 x 20 square metres). It is 3.2 metres high. The structural design aims to show a sustainable and forward thinking building method in the digital age, challenging the new way of thinking, designing, engineering, fabricating and installing. The design will have the practical considerations for transportation, store, disassembly and reassembly i.e. stackable components, modularity.

Project Credits:

Client: Li Investments
Designer: Chun Qing Li at Pavilion Architecture
EcoTimber: Kebony
Developer: Li Investments
Project Manager: Li Investments
Main Contractor: Li Investments
Engineer: Ramboll
Geometry Consultant: Evolute
Tensile Material: Serge Ferrari
Tensile Manufacturer: TensileFabric
Location: Greenwich Peninsula, London, UK


John Curtin School of Medical Research | Lyons Architecture

The newest addition to the Australian National University campus in Canberr is the amazing John Curtin School of Medical Research building, by Lyons Architecture. The building features a series of internal spaces that are connected with stairs and open atria aimed at promoting social exchange and fraternization, in addition to research laboratories, a 200 seat public lecture theater and ample amounts of public exterior spaces.

Courtesy of Lyons Architecture

The exterior of the building is clad in steel and digitally rendered and fabricated panels that represent molecules on coded DNA strands, giving the form a strong sense of movement and orientation. These panels gradually reveal the inner-workings of the school as the viewer approaches the entrance. While inside, the flexibly designed laboratories accommodate small and large groups, allowing research to be undertaken in a variety of manners. office areas for independent analysis and support staff are located next to the labs, delivering an integrated and highly efficient workplace.


AIA New York Announces 2015 Design Award Winners

17 of this year’s 35 Design Award winners, ranging from small pavilions to large-scale master plans, are New York City-based projects.

The New York City chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANY) has conferred 35 Design Awards and one Best in Competition Award to a distinguished set of projects completed by New York-based architects and designers. From a pool of 391 entries, the 35 winners were revealed at a jury symposium at the New York Center for Architecture on March 9, and will be recognized during an AIANY fundraiser and awards luncheon at Cipriani Wall Street on April 22. SsD’s design for Songpa Micro Housing, which won an honor award in Architecture, was also this year’s Best in Competition recipient.

Winners were recognized in four categories: Architecture, Interiors, Projects, and Urban Design. The projects were evaluated on design quality, innovation, thoughtfulness, technique, and response to the project’s surrounding community and context. The judging panel favored works that exemplified a creative approach to incorporating technical requirements as well as demonstrated consideration of ecological responsibilities.

The 2015 panel included: Teddy Cruz of Estudio Teddy Cruz, Stan Field of Field Architecture, Simon Frommenwiler of HHF Architects, Johanna Hurme of 5468796 architecture, Richard Maimon, FAIA, of Kieran Timberlake, Hadrian Predock of predock frane architects, and Nick Winton of Anmahian Winton Architects.

“This year’s jury was demanding and thoughtful,” said Tomas Rossant, AIA, the 2015 AIANY president. “Their selections speak to new values: Form is no longer to be celebrated for its own sake, and architecture in its greatest expression must positively impact institutions, strengthen communities, act sustainably and resiliently, and spark optimism, curiosity, and generosity in the human spirit. The selected projects prove this can be done.”

Winning work will be featured in the Perrin Studio-designed 2015 AIANY Design Awards Exhibition, which will be displayed at the Center for Architecture beginning April 23 with an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. The projects will remain on view through June 20.

For more information on each of the Honor Award winners below, please follow the link to its ARCHITECT Magazine Project Gallery page.

Best in Competition

Songpa Micro Housing, SsD, Seoul

Courtesy SsDSongpa Micro Housing, SsD, Seoul

Honor Awards for Architecture

National September 11 Memorial Museum, Davis Brody Bond, New York

James EwingNational September 11 Memorial Museum, Davis Brody Bond, New York

Melbourne School of Design, NADAAA and John Wardle Architects, Melbourne

The atrium features a faceted wooden structure called the Suspended Studio.
Peter BennettsMelbourne School of Design, NADAAA and John Wardle Architects, Melbourne

Vakko Fashion Center, REX, Istanbul

Vakko Fashion Center, REX, Istanbul
Iwan BaanVakko Fashion Center, REX, Istanbul

Henderson-Hopkins School, ROGERS PARTNERS Architects+Urban Designers, Baltimore

Henderson-Hopkins School, Baltimore, by Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers
Courtesy Albert Vecerka/ESTOHenderson-Hopkins School, Baltimore, by Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers

Songpa Micro Housing, SsD, Seoul

Songpa Micro Housing, SsD, Seoul
Courtesy SsDSongpa Micro Housing, SsD, Seoul

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center, WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism Brooklyn, N.Y.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center, WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism Brooklyn, N.Y.
Albert Večerka/EstoBrooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center, WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism Brooklyn, N.Y.

Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, Philadelphia

Dusk view from the street.
Albert Večerka/EstoKrishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, Philadelphia

Honor Awards for Interiors

St. Mark’s Bookshop, Clouds Architecture Office, New York

St. Mark's Bookshop, Clouds Architecture Office, New York
GIONSt. Mark’s Bookshop, Clouds Architecture Office, New York

Photographer’s Loft, Desai Chia Architecture, New York

Photographer's Loft, Desai Chia Architecture, New York
Courtesy Desai Chia ArchitecturePhotographer’s Loft, Desai Chia Architecture, New York

Honor Awards for Projects

Rethinking Refugee Communities, Ennead Architects

Rethinking Refugee Communities, Ennead Architects
Courtesy Ennead ArchitectsRethinking Refugee Communities, Ennead Architects

Hy-Fi, The Living, Queens, N.Y.

Hy-Fi, The Living, Queens, N.Y.
BarkowPhotoHy-Fi, The Living, Queens, N.Y.

Honor Award for Urban Design

Beijing Horticultural Exposition Masterplan and Pavilions, WORK Architecture Company, SCAPE, SLAB and Studio Zhu Pei, Beijing

Beijing Horticultural Exposition Masterplan and Pavilions, WORK Architecture Company, SCAPE, SLAB and Studio Zhu Pei, Beijing
Courtesy WORKac/SLAB/SCAPE/Studio Pei-ZhuBeijing Horticultural Exposition Masterplan and Pavilions, WORK Architecture Company, SCAPE, SLAB and Studio Zhu Pei, Beijing

For more information on each of the Honor Award winners below, please follow the link to its ARCHITECT Magazine Project Gallery page.



Frei Otto: the titan of tent architecture

He was the hero of groundbreaking lightweight architecture, inspiring everything from the Millennium Dome to pleasure-domes in Kazakhstan and service stations all over the world. But why didn’t Otto achieve the socially-driven dream he always hoped for?


What better way to go, just weeks before your 90th birthday, than to see the world’s most powerful company unveil a vast new HQ that owes everything to your work? The new Google campus proposed for Mountain View, California, by Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, could come straight from the 1970s sketchbooks of groundbreaking German engineer and grand master of the big tent, Frei Otto, who died on Monday.

The news of his death became all the more poignant with the announcement that he was to be awarded the Pritzker Prize, the world’s highest accolade for architecture, later this year. Thankfully Otto had already learned of the news, which he greeted with characteristic modesty: “I have never done anything to gain this prize” he said. “I will use whatever time is left to me to keep doing what I have been doing, which is to help humanity.”

For a man who set out to “design new types of buildings to help poor people,” his work mainly became associated with the grand swooping gestures of expos and trade fairs, national statements of post-war optimism, wrought in taut skins and tensile wire. His stadium roof for the 1972 Munich Olympics was the pinnacle of his experiments with tensile structures, stretched to and fro like a series of dancing spider’s webs, hovering weightlessly above the arena and extruded out to cover the surrounding plaza in a great sweep. But the event was horrifically overshadowed by the murder of 11 Israeli athletes, leading critics to say that continuing with the Games was like “having a dance at Dachau”.