The geodesic dome was developed by the American engineer and architect Richard Buckminster Fuller in the late 1940s. Geodesic domes are sphere-like structures consisting of a network of triangles which provide a self-balancing structural framework whilst using minimal materials. The word geodesic is Latin and means 'earth dividing'.
Geodesic domes are efficient structures in several ways:
They are based on a network of triangles which are very stable shapes. For example if a force is applied to the corner of a triangle, it will retain its form, whereas other shapes, such as rectangles will be distort. This means that geodesic dome buildings are strong and resistant to forces such as snow loading, earthquakes, wind, and so on.
The structural efficiency of geodesic domes means that they require less material than conventional buildings.
For the volume that they enclose, geodesic domes have a much smaller surface area than traditional 'box-shaped' buildings. This means there is a reduced area exposed to external temperature changes which means they can be less expensive to heat and cool.
The construction of geodesic domes can be very fast, and may not require the use of heavy equipment. This build ability can be further enhanced through the use of prefabricated components.