Okay, I have to admit I have a small obsession with geodesic domes. I’m not sure why, but for the last five years I have systematically been building these beautiful structures wherever I land. Like brewing, it ticks a lot of my boxes: bite sized chunks of mathematics and the results, when you get it right, are beautiful. This is not to say I’m any good at maths or am an artist – because I’m not. There is a natural beauty in geodesic domes and building them is like doing a Sudoku – everything seems to be going well you start thinking ‘I must be a genius’… until you try to fit the last few pieces then realise it’s all gone wrong.
But when it does all fit – wow!
Our latest Geo Dome is a beauty. It’s around 4.5m tall with self built connectors (nodes) made out of high pressure piping. It’s designed and built by myself and a large ladder. The best property of any geodesic structure is that it’s self supporting. It’s also one of the most effective / efficient methods to creating a large open space.
What they don’t tell you is that it’s an absolute pain to cover. This issue has yet to be resolved for the one we built last year.
Geodesic Beer Garden
The important features we’d need to address with this project are: height, length, cover and, importantly, zero impact to our farm by creating a non permanent structure. The Beer Garden requires not only a transparent roof and sides, it also need to house a small sealed brew room and bar (with space for my dartboard).
So with this in mind the construction must have a simple solution for covering it. Our first choice was to buy a huge freight container cover. Basically a massive poly tunnel around 4.5m height and 20m length. A structure made out of metal framework and PVC. Great, the size was right, materials okay and it came ready out of the box. Even though this seemed the ideal solution, after a lot of thought it turns out that it does not tick all the boxes. Aesthetically it looked pretty poor – it’s important for this structure to sit neatly within our land – and there was little to no flexibility in the structure, so fitting our extra curriculum and important features (mainly the bar and brew room) would take a lot of additional work.
So, after a little more digging I kept returning to concept design by Warren Stokes. The design is a simple geodesic tunnel made out of triangle timber frames. What makes this design so great is that a normal geodesic structure surface is not uniform (flat) so covering it is very difficult. Warren Stokes designs (as pictured) the lengths flat making it easy to cover.
Adapting for progress
So what we are going to do is pimp up this design to make it fit our requirements. We’ll aim for a height of around 5m with a length of 20m, adapting the two ends a our brew room and bar. We’ll secure the tunnel using ground screws rather than concrete, for example, to reduce our impact on the environment and to allow us to move it if we want.
We’re still working on the internal design, giving careful consideration to the hydroponic and growing spaces, which still need some attention. But we will be sure to keep you posted!
If you are interested in a geodetic build the Warren Stokes website is a great place to start: geo-dome.co.uk