When Buckminster Fuller first introduced the geodesic dome to the American marketplace some 75 years ago, he had in mind an inexpensive housing solution that would appeal to the masses. As it turned out, his first big customer was the US Marine Corps, who bought the domes to put over their radar installations, which had nothing to do with housing. However, since then, the basic design for geodesic domes has been used for many custom homes, but most of them are very expensive, one-off designs. Some are stunningly beautiful, leaving Fuller’s dream for inexpensive, easy-to-assemble shelter domes unfulfilled.
|Sonostar does not claim to have solved the housing problem, but they have come up with a shelter dome that is inexpensive and easy to assemble. They call it a ‘Mini-Glamping Dome’, because it is relatively small (11.75’ in diameter, 7’ high in the middle), but more substantial and glamorous than a pop up tent. The domes feature a strong frame made of schedule 40 PVC, where the struts are connected together using Sonostar’s proprietary injection-molded hubs. The dome frame is overlaid with a waterproof cover that features a large bay window around the middle, two triangular zipped windows, and a front door with a heavy-duty vertical zipper. A one-piece floor which wraps up over the base to keep out the rain is also included. The domes feel large and cozy inside, despite having a floor area of only 100 sq ft.
|Who might use these mini-glamping domes? Since they take over an hour to assemble and disassemble, you’re not going to take one of these camping unless you plan to stay for a while. At a site with public restroom facilities, these would make good low-cost sleeping quarters. The domes could be adapted in the wintertime as shelter with some kind of an electric heat source. They could also be used for emergency housing in the event of a natural disaster or for any unplanned homeless event. Small solar panels (not included) can be positioned on the inside of the dome underneath the two circular skylights, providing enough power for lighting or cellphone charging.
The Mini-glamping domes come as a kit, in 4 boxes, with instructions and all the hardware needed to put them together. The only tool not provided is a Philips screwdriver and/or a small nut driver or crescent wrench to tighten the nuts on the bolts that hold the struts to the hubs. Sonostar recommends the domes be staked into the ground as well, and those stakes are not included. The price is $1499.99 and they can be purchased here.
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