Acoustic Properties of Geodesic Domes
May 8, 2007 5:49 PM   Subscribe

Looking for those with personal experience with acoustical and heating/cooling properties of geodesic domes

I am thinking of putting up a temporary geodesic dome to house a large yoga studio. This will be put up on an asphalt parking. The idea is to have 2 floors in use seperated by curtains.

This leads me to acoustics as classes may overlap. What are the acoustical properties of a dome. I would like to hear from people who have had ectual experience being in one.

Also, this will be in SoCal. Airflow will be important. I know of Bucky's work on the Wichita Dymaxion House in the late forties and the implication that the design of the structure in theory took care of both heating and cooling concerns. Does anyone have feedback based on personal experience.
posted by goalyeehah to Technology (2 answers total)
Domes are inherently echo chambers. You can reduce the effect by making the ceiling NOT be a big inverted dish. For a temporary structure, hang flag-sized curtains to form squares or triangles above head height. Once the inverted bowl of the ceiling is broken up this way, you won't have to worry about the walls much. Generally, the more big soft things you can put in the space, the better.

For a more pemanent structure, ceiling gussets similar to an egg carton inverted will help reduce echo.

Suggest you google dome+ferrocement+acousics for other ideas.
posted by yesster at 7:02 PM on May 8, 2007

I lived for approximately three years in a geodesic dome.

They are loud. (Especially when you have a teenager who at the time was heavily into Pantera.)

Hanging sound baffles helped (as did yelling, "Turn that down!"), but you'll still end up with "hot spots" that will bounce the sound around in sometimes amusing ways. One could stand downstairs by the door to the greenhouse and whisper and be heard perfectly by someone in the back corner of the master bedroom upstairs.

Our dome was on stilts and built back into the side of a mountain. There were 57 steps from the driveway down to the front day was a bitch and a half. The place had been built by a rich hippie in the early 80s, and he had let it fall to ruin when he grew out of his swingin-bachelor-pad days and we lived there basically to keep it from falling off the mountainside. When it rained, it was like living beneath a collander.

But it was built to take advantage of solar heating and air cooling, and that worked to some degree. I found it frequently too hot or too cold (I'm in Alabama, btw), but never so far out of range that a sweater or a fan couldn't remedy. And so our power bill was tiny, we had no gas bill...if it was too sticky-hot to bear on an August afternoon, we'd use that saved utility money to go sit in a cool dark theater.

I don't think two simultaneous classes in a dome would work well at all. Two televisions in mine were an annoyance. But YMMV.

I would like to live in a dome again, but I want to build into a hillside so there's at least a portion underground....
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:25 PM on May 8, 2007

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